Lynch, Flaherty to take charge of breakfast

Congressman Stephen F. Lynch is shown during the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in South Boston. Don West photo

The much-debated question of who would take over the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, the South Boston tradition helmed for the past few years by former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, now has a two-fold answer. US Congressman Stephen Lynch and City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty will share hosting duties this year.

Slated for Sunday, March 18, the breakfast will return to the Ironworkers Local 7 Union Hall, where Lynch, a former ironworker before taking on elected office, has previously hosted the festivities.

“The St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast has become a neighborhood tradition, and with the unanticipated resignation of Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Councilor Mike Flaherty and I have agreed to pinch hit and co-host this year’s breakfast,” Lynch said in a statement. “Senator Dorcena Forry did a terrific job as host, and I thank her for her work on behalf of the South Boston community.”

Sen. Dorcena Forry— who is the wife of Reporter owner and editor Bill Forry— vacated her seat at the end of January to take a post at Suffolk Construction. Her departure stunned many political observers and left a special election to replace her and the question of breakfast hosting up in the air.

A political staple since the 1930s, the breakfast kicks off St. Patrick’s Day festivities in South Boston and precedes the holiday parade through Southie. It is a veritable “who’s who” of Massachusetts politics, drawing senators and governors alike to offer chuckle- and groan-inducing takes on the topics of the day, in between the familiar Irish ballad.

Lynch served as the breakfast host from 1996 until 2001, when he left the state senate when he was elected to US House of Representatives. He has maintained a high-profile role as a guest and roaster at the breakfast throughout his tenure in Congress.

The senator for the First Suffolk District traditionally takes on hosting duties. Forry’s office staff has been filling the gaps while interim hosts were being considered.

Dorcena Forry, daughter of Haitian-American immigrants, was the first woman of color to host the breakfast, starting in 2014 after winning a 2013 special election to succeed former Sen. Jack Hart.

“We’re happy that the tradition of the breakfast is being upheld this year and will continue,” said Patrick O’Brien, the legislative and policy director in for the First Suffolk office. “We will continue to work with the hosts this year to ensure that a smooth transition of the breakfast in such a quick time takes place.”

Dorcena Forry’s former staff will coordinate with Lynch and Flaherty’s offices to hand over any necessary materials on the breakfast.

Jennifer Smith is the news editor of the Dorchester Reporter.