A dark (green) cloud has developed over the Emerald Isle as the government announces the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day events in Ireland due to coronavirus.
With mere days from its kickoff, government officials have announced the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day events in Ireland due to growing threat of coronavirus.
On Monday, 9th March, concerns loomed as Ireland’s Minister for Health, Simon Harris, announced he would be making the tough decision to cancel the festival in the coming days.
This verdict comes off the back of uproar from doctors, citizens and constituents, who have voiced concerns over public health.
Just days to go
Belfast City Council in Northern Ireland was the first to pull the plug on Monday night; the decision was made by means of a vote. Yesterday the Republic followed suit. Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister), announced that this year’s festivities would not go ahead, as planned.
While there are other festivities and parades still scheduled nationwide, it appears as though they too could be cancelled.
Ireland: under review
As it stands, Ireland is in the “containment” phase. This is the first and least severe of stages in the government plan to tackle coronavirus.
Varadkar, however, went on to announce a €430 million (£375.7 million) health service plan to tackle the virus. He added that in the coming weeks, Ireland is likely to be moving into phase two of the coronavirus plan: the “delay” stage.
Through the “containment” stage, life continues as standard. During this phase, the government works to catch new cases swiftly, and avoid the spread of the disease.
In total, there are four stages. The final phase, “mitigate”, acknowledges the widespread effects of coronavirus. In this worst-case scenario, everyday life would be affected. This stage would see the closure of businesses and transport. In addition, access to healthcare and police support would be limited.
As of 10th March 2020, there are 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland. There are 16 ongoing cases in Northern Ireland, and numbers continue to grow.
Irish Health Minister, Simon Harris, vows that systems are in place as the threat of Covid-19 continues to grow across the Emerald Isle. School and business closure are the next steps, with certain institutions already closing up shop.
Speaking candidly on Prime Time, RTÉ, the Minister admitted: “There may be a time when we close schools. As of now, we need you to take all measures to keep family well and look after those in the community. But there will in all likelihood be a point when we have to introduce more restrictions.”
He also confessed on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that there is a moderate-high risk that Ireland will be subject to the same dark fate that has unravelled in other EU countries – such as Italy – with regards to coronavirus.
A sad day for Irish culture
Celebrated worldwide, St Patrick’s Day is an Irish national holiday which commemorates the eponymous patron saint of the Emerald Isle.
Each year, across the globe, crowds gather to share in fun and festivities while celebrating in Irish culture.
The festival drew crowds up to 1.7 million (2019) from all over the world. Economic impact aside, it is a terrible shame that the looming health crisis has led to the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day.