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Now Rahm Has Doubts About South Side Irish Parade

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 9, 2012 4:20PM

Image Credit: Ron Reason

As organizers for the South Side Irish Parade work to raise the necessary funds to cover security costs for the event and enforce a ban on alcohol, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is now starting to have doubts about the ability of the South Side Irish Parade Committee to pull it off. Welcome to the club, Your Honor.

The committee is halfway towards its $200,000 goal, but in a letter sent to them yesterday, the mayor's office asked for more information about the committee's security plan and called for a public hearing on those plans.

Parade committee chairman Joseph Connelly said they already had those meetings last August and September, didn't see the need for another meeting and is currently focused on planning the parade and raising the money to cover the costs.

Although the city approved the committee's parade permit, a permit isn't actually issued until organizers prepay for city services such as barricades and route signs. An Emanuel administration official told the Tribune, "Before we seek the payment, we would hope that the parade committee will come to the conclusion that it is not ready to hold this event." Connelly is confident the parade committee can answer any and all concerns addressed by Emanuel (who only last month expressed confidence they could host a parade without drunks, Irish and non) and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea, who has been calling for public hearings on the security plan for the parade since the permit application was approved.

The South Side Irish Parade Committee has raised $100,000 towards their costs so far. One sponsor for the parade is CITY Beverage-Chicago, which distributes Bud Light and Guinness on the South side. Connelly said CITY Beverage will help promote the event's zero-tolerance policy, which to some may seem like giving a fox open access to a hen house.