HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Ireland’s deputy head-of-government will be marching in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade, which is now less than a week and a half away.

Tánaiste Michaél Martin will be the highest-ranking sitting official ever to march in the parade, which steps-off on Sunday, March 19.

Martin was appointed to the office of Tánaiste in December, previously having served as Taoiseach (the Irish equivalent of prime minister). Additionally, he serves as Ireland’s Minister for Defense and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Martin has been the leader of the Fianna Fáil party since 2011, which is currently in a coalition government with the Fine Gael and Green parties.

In a news release sent to 22News by the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Committee, Martin wrote that he is delighted to be participating in the parade, and noted that connections between Ireland and western Massachusetts run deep.

You can watch the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade broadcast live on 22News.

Below is Martin’s complete statement:

“Dia daoibh a cháirde agus beannachtaí na Féile Padraig oraibh go léir.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all our friends in Western Massachusetts, and I am delighted to attend the wonderful Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2023.

I’m very pleased that the Parade Committee will this year honor United States Ambassador Claire Cronin, who has done so much since her arrival in Dublin to further strengthen relationships between Ireland and the United States. I know she is held in very high regard by the people of Ireland.

I am also grateful to be part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Holyoke. Ireland’s links with Western Massachusetts run deep, and nurturing these connections is a priority for the Irish Government. St. Patrick’s Day offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the 70 million people worldwide of Irish background.

This year Ireland is marking several anniversaries. We celebrate 100 years of Ireland in the World – a century of our country’s engagement as an active member of the international community. We also mark the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, 50 years of European Union membership, and the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

But most of all, we celebrate the extraordinary ties between Ireland and its communities abroad. I feel fortunate to be celebrating our national day in a place where Irish links run so deep.

 Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh.”

-Tánaiste Michaél Martin