Monday 9 March 2020

St Patrick's Day parades cancelled due to coronavirus

In a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, St Patrick's Day parades all over the Republic have been cancelled following a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Coronavirus this morning. recently as Friday, public health advice remained that there was no reason to cancel any proposed mass gatherings, including those parades and festivals relating to the nation's patron saint.

However, a statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team yesterday announced that two more cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, bringing the current total of such cases in Ireland to 21.

Over the weekend, several towns and cities decided to cancel or postpone their local St Patrick's Day events. This morning Cork City followed suit. And then Dublin's huge Festival, which attracts thousands of tourists, met the same fate.

In Northern Ireland, while organisers of some processions have said their events will be shelved, other cancellations have yet to be announced. Belfast's City Council has said today that the city's St Patrick's Day celebrations will go ahead. Calls from medical experts appear to be getting louder, however.

Late in the day, Belfast City Council changed their minds with this official statement: Following the cancellation of a number of St Patrick’s Day celebrations across Ireland, Members of Belfast City Council have taken a precautionary decision to postpone its annual St Patrick’s Day parade and concert, given the fact that this is due to take place next week.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Daniel Baker said: “Our St Patrick’s Day celebrations are always hugely anticipated and a great day out for people right across the city, so it’s obviously very disappointing that this year’s event won’t go ahead as planned.

“The decision to postpone this year’s event has been taken as a precaution, given Members’ and the public’s concern around coronavirus.”

UPDATE 12 March: See latest blogpost following closure of public venues and bans of large group gatherings.