EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 15, 2014

A shillelagh for the mayor

Lawrence Hibernians celebrate St. Patrick's Day Luncheon with a serving of political satire

LAWRENCE — The Dominican mayor who helped bring the St. Patrick’s Day parade back to the city got a grateful embrace from the Irish yesterday, when the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians presented him with a shimmering green T-shirt emblazoned with a shamrock and the words “Mayor Daniel O’Rivera.”

William Sullivan, the master of ceremonies at the Hibernian’s annual luncheon at the Relief’s In on Market Street, also gave Rivera a Shillelagh, an Irish walking stick that can double as a club.

Later in the lunch, the new mayor picked up some advice about how to use it.

“You can use it at City Hall to make sure everyone has their ties and coats on,” Father Bill Waters, a campus minister at Merrimack College who also was honored at the luncheon, suggested as he addressed the overflow crowd, referring to the dress code Rivera recently imposed on city employees.

Yesterday’s luncheon at the Relief’s In on Market Street was the 45th annual event sponsored by the city’s Hibernian organization, which continued the gathering even after the St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled in 2010 for lack of funding. The event regularly draws politicians from across Massachusetts, especially those running for office, and yesterday’s was attended by gubernatorial candidates Charlie Baker, a Republican, and state Treasurer Steven Grossman, a Democrat.

“Between us, Karyn and I are going to 15 St. Patrick’s Day events,” Baker said, referring to Karyn Polito, a candidate for lieutenant governor whom Baker has endorsed. “I’m going to try to go to a Dropkick Murphys concert later at The Lansdowne Pub.”

Dropkick Murphys is an American Celtic punk band formed in Quincy in 1996.

Rivera hobnobbed briefly with Grossman, then turned his attention to Baker, giving him a wide grin and vigorous handshake.

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