WATCH: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin says Patrick's Day is 'celebration of immigration'

He says Irish-Americans who support travel ban have forgotten what it means to be Irish

WATCH: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin says Patrick's Day is 'celebration of immigration'

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on MSNBC | Image: YouTube/MSNBC

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has told US media he does not take back any part of his Seanad speech last November, in which he called President Donald Trump "a fascist".

Senator Ó Ríordáin is in New York for a St Patrick's Day march against President Trump's travel ban.

The event, called 'Irish Stand', will see some well-known Irish and American names march from the Riverside Church in protest.

Speaking to MSNBC, Senator Ó Ríordáin said: "I feel more strongly about it now than ever, particularly because the travel ban is coming in...on the very day that our Taoiseach - our prime minister - will be in the White House.

"For us, and particularly for people of an Irish background, to see the number of Irish-Americans who surround Trump, to us I think they've completely forgotten their own heritage, their own history.

"The Irish story is one of immigration, it's one of seeking refuge, it's one of overcoming sectarianism - and all the negative stereotypes that are laid against communities in America now were once laid against us.

"I think any Irish-American who celebrates St Patrick's Day but also supports the travel ban is somebody who has forgotten what it means to be Irish.

"What Mexicans are going through now, or Muslim-Americans are going through now or African-Americans who feel fearful - that's exactly what we went through in the past.

Presenter Joy Reid also mentioned the fact that signs in the US used to read: 'No Blacks - No Dogs - No Irish'.

Ó Ríordáin said: "I think our responsibility as Irish people is to grab St Patrick's Day back from that white, nationalist viewpoint and to present it as a celebration of immigration.

"We can't let St Patrick's Day just be a parade - it has to be a stand".