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Michael Flannery; IRA Stand Caused Dispute

October 03, 1994

Michael Flannery, 92, whose support for the Irish Republican Army caused a stir when he was named grand marshal of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Flannery was born on a farm in North Tipperary and joined the Irish Volunteers in 1916 at age 14, the year of the Irish Rebellion. He ended up in prison watching rebel leaders being executed. He immigrated to New York in 1927 and was active in many Irish-American organizations, and in 1970 he traveled around the United States, helping set up 62 chapters of the Irish Northern Aid Committee. In 1982, Flannery was indicted with four others for arms smuggling, but they were acquitted. In 1983, Flannery was named grand marshal of New York's parade and publicly said that the event--which is nominally a celebration of Irish heritage--should be openly pro-IRA. Many of those who normally participated in the parade skipped it as a result, causing a national controversy. In New York City on Friday of internal bleeding.

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