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De Blasio Celebrates With LGBT Activists At Irish Consulate After Ending St. Patrick's Day Parade Boycott

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stood with LGBT activists at the Irish Consulate Thursday to announce that he's ending his two-year boycott of the St. Patrick's Day parade.

"This March 17, we will all march together," the mayor said, adding, "For the first time in decades, the whole Irish community will come together to celebrate."

De Blasio ended his boycott after parade organizers dropped its longstanding ban on allowing gay groups to march under their own banners.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports that Lavender and Green Alliance founder Brendan Fay addressed the parade committee, saying its actions have undone the pain and anguish of exclusion.

"Your words of welcome have transformed a bitter and painful divide in our community and city. I stand here very thankful to you, to the board and the committee," Fay said.

1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reports allowing gay groups to participate in the parade was all worked out over a pot of tea.

"We look forward to marching up the avenue, or I said yesterday to someone, perhaps our hearts will be dancing all the way," Fay said.

De Blasio skipped the parade in 2014, when no gay groups were allowed to openly march. He skipped it again last year, when one small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group was permitted.

Parade chairman John Lahey says he wants this year's parade to be the ``most inclusive parade ever.''

The parade will flow up Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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