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No parades in 2020 as St Patrick’s Day hit by Covid-19 fears

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An image from St Patrick's Day Parade in Ardee, in 2016. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

St Patrick’s Day parades and events across county Louth have been cancelled after the Government’s Covid-19 sub-committee took the decision to cancel the flagship Dublin parade on Monday afternoon.

It is understood the government also took a decision to call off all St Patrick’s Day parades and events nationwide next week.

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Even without the government edict, parades around the country, and county Louth, were set to follow suit once Dublin’s parade was cancelled.

LouthNow.ie reported last week that organisers of the two-day St Patrick’s Day Festival in Dundalk were monitoring the situation. They said that were the Dublin parade to be cancelled, parades around the county would also likely be cancelled or postponed. The Dundalk St Patrick’s Day Festival, has been postponed, not cancelled, the committee say.

They issued a statement this afternoon, which read: “Following careful consideration this morning, the Dundalk St. Patrick’s Day Committee have decided to postpone the events scheduled to take place in the town centre on March 16 and 17. We appreciate that this decision will disappoint many people but in the interest of public health and to ensure that the spread of Covid-19 is minimised we believe that this is the sensible approach to take at present.

“We are announcing this decision this morning in order to give the maximum amount of notice to all those who are involved, including all those who have signed up for the parade and the other events,” chairperson Conor Keelan said.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported us in the last few months; our main sponsors PayPal, and others in the local business community, Louth County Council, Dundalk Tidy Towns and Dundalk Gardaí, in order to bring something new and special to Dundalk for St Patrick’s Day, but this is now not possible at present.

“It is important to note that these events are not cancelled, they are postponed. We are already looking at scheduling for later in the year when it is deemed safe and that the spread of Covid-19 has ceased. We will continue to work with all our sponsors, suppliers and participants in arranging an alternative date.”

Organisers of the Drogheda parade, returning this year after a one-year hiatus, also intimated that they were waiting to see what the final decision on the Dublin parade would be. Their decision would then follow. It is understood plans in Drogheda are to postpone their event and have it later in the year.

On Monday, LouthNow.ie spoke to the a representative from the Ardee committee who said they were “biding their time” but hey would take on advise that comes from the HSE. “We’ll take our line off what the HSE or the government tells us. If they cancel the big one, everything else will go.” That parade was officially cancelled as of 3pm.

Parades had been planned in Dundalk, Drogheda, Ardee, Blackrock, Louth Village and Cooley.

The government’s decision this afternoon came shortly after Cork City Council announced that their parade had been cancelled in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier on Monday, Minister for Health Simon Harris said there was a “moderate to high” possibility of Ireland following Italy in having a mass outbreak of coronavirus.

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Earlier in the day, Fianna Fáil councillor John Sheridan called on the government to provide urgent clarity on the matter. “This isn’t just about the big parade in Dublin. Months of work has been done across the county including in Louth Village and Ardee in fundraising and organising the parades.

“So much effort and hard work has been done in planning parades, organising insurance and at this stage, so many groups are in the final week of preparations and rehearsing,” he said.

Labour councillors on Drogheda Borough Council Pio Smith and Michelle Hall stated their belief that the parades should be cancelled.

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