Chicago alderman blames drunken suburbanites for St. Patrick's Day mess

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Monday, March 19, 2018
Alderman blames drunken suburbanites for St. Patrick's Day mess
Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly called out young suburbanites for the mess after the city's St. Patrick's Day celebration.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago alderman stirred up controversy by calling out young suburbanites for the mess that had to be cleaned up after the city's St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) tweeted in the aftermath of Saturday's festivities, "My thanks to Streets & Sanitation for cleaning-up the disgusting mess St. Patrick's day brought to downtown Chicago. No thanks to the thousands of drunk suburban kids who used our neighborhoods like a giant toilet bowl. Never ending cab horns from 1A-5A were a nice touch as well."

Reilly did not return ABC7's phone calls seeking further comment. But his colleague, Alderman Scott Waguespack, did. His 32nd Ward includes parts of Lakeview and Wrigleyville. He said he understood where Reilly was coming from.

"The violent activity, the broken bottles, the garbage, the puke, the everything that is littering the streets -- I can imagine his frustration because the next morning, he is the one who is taking all the phone calls," Waguespack said.

With the river dyeing extended a block this year and St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday, Waguespack said the excess has to be called out. He also said there's a reckoning coming for the celebrations, as there was a decade ago when local leaders shut down the South Side Irish Parade.

"I think that anytime you have major events like this, the city overall, the leadership needs to take a look and say, what is the impact on services?" Waguespack said.

Chicago police reported only four arrests related to the festivities, but the superintendent said city dwellers weren't innocent.

"I am not going to blame people from around the area, outside of Chicago, for all the activity because we probably have our part to play in that, too," Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

For its part, Plumbers Union Local 130 was tickled green with how its 150 parade marshals -- many of them plumbers -- handled the challenge.

"I think everybody came with the right attitude, that it was a fun family day and we didn't hear of any problems," said St. Patrick's Day Parade Chairman James Coyne.

"If we find that you are not enjoying it responsibly and you are out there doing things you shouldn't, then you will be held accountable for it," Johnson said.

The next time the holiday falls on a Saturday is 11 years from now, in 2029.