Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio is to end his boycott of the city's St Patrick's Day Parade and will take part this year.

The mayor had refused to march in the parade in 2014 and 2015 because of a ban on LGBT groups marching under their own banner.

This year, parade organisers have lifted that ban in full.

Accordingly Mr de Blasio will take part in the 255-year-old parade for the first time.

He made a formal announcement of his intentions at the Irish Consulate in New York today with the Consul General of Ireland to New York Barbara Jones and Deputy Consul General Anna McGillicuddy.

Mr de Blasio was joined at the announcement by the Irish American Caucus from the New York City Council, the Board and Committee of the St Patrick's Day Committee and some of the Grand Marshall aides, elected by the New York community.

This year's parade grand marshal is former US Senator George Mitchell.

The Lavendar and Green Alliance will become the first Irish LGBT group to march in a New York St Patrick's Day parade.

More than 300 people will march behind that banner on 17 March - a group that had campaigned for 25 years to reverse the ban.

They will be accompanied by the grand marshals of the Queens St Pat's for All Parade - the alternate parade set up to include LGBT groups - writer Colum McCann and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the chairperson emeritus of the American Ireland Fund.

The New York parade takes place on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and is considered to be the oldest in the world.

Mr de Blasio became the first New York mayor in 20 years to decline an invitation to march when he took office in 2014.

Last year, a group of gay NBC workers - the broadcast company screening the parade - were allowed to march behind their banner, but this is the first year that LGBT Irish organisations will be allowed to march in their own right.