- 09 Mar 20
The parades, which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists in total, have been cancelled due to concerns regarding the rapid spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe.
The Cabinet Sub-Committee focusing on the coronavirus outbreak has decided to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, following an announcement from Cork City Council to cancel their parade.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said just three days ago that there was no recommendation to cancel large gatherings due to the outbreak at this stage. Opposition party leaders are currently meeting with him in government buildings and a press conference is expected to take place later today.
Dublin's St. Patrick's Day is the biggest in the nation, attracting up to 500,000 visitors. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation earlier today called for the parade to be cancelled, saying that hospitals will be stretched to capacities from the festivities and they would not be able to cope with the Covid-19 crisis as well.
Cork's parade is the second largest in the country, with up to 2,000 taking part and attracting up to 50,000 visitors. Parades in smaller towns in Cork, including Mallow and Churchtown, have also been postponed or cancelled. Across Sligo, Wicklow, Kerry, Kildare and Laois, more parades are also facing cancellation due to coronavirus fears.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said earlier today that there is a moderate-to-high risk that Ireland will follow the same pattern as other EU countries like Italy and France in regards to the outbreak. 21 cases have so far been confirmed in the Republic and 12 cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland. Globally, the number of cases has risen past the 100,000 mark with over 3,800 deaths.
Varadkar has cut short his St. Patrick's Day trip to the US, skipping a visit to New York, in order to stay in Ireland on Tuesday to deal with the situation.
The public health recommendations remain the same — wash hands regularly, avoid touching your face, practice cough and sneeze hygiene, and maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone coughing/sneezing.