Belfast City Council cancel St. Patrick’s Day celebrations amid coronavirus fears

An emergency chamber meeting was held last night

Belfast City Council have agreed to cancel this year’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, as a prevention measure against coronavirus.

The virus, also referred to as COVID-19, is sweeping across the world, with three recorded cases now understood in Northern Ireland, including a Queen’s University Belfast student.

The motion was initially proposed by Lord Mayor and Sinn Féin councillor, Daniel Baker. It follows similar actions taken in Dublin, as a prevention method against the spread of the virus.

It is understood that this debate was initially to discuss the impact of Flybe’s collapse, and how this would impact the city.

The containment of COVID-19 has been a concern across Ireland now for a number of weeks

In a statement, Lord Mayor Baker said, “While it was still their [Public Health Agency] advice not to cancel events, they did understand the situation that we are in”.

“They are in containment stage, however, this could change very quickly. Given Saint Patrick’s Day is ten days away, I felt it was a civic duty of mine to bring this forward today to the council.”

Defending his colleague, Sinn Féin Councillor Ronan McLaughlin said that the priority right now, “is to make sure we do all that is in our power to contain this as much as possible.”

The Tab understands that Sinn Féin, the Green Party, People Before Profit, Alliance and the SDLP voted for the motion, whilst the DUP abstained from the vote.

A statement has not been made from the PSNI regarding the celebrations, which were set to be headlined by Cascada.

The annual holiday brings people from across the island into the cities, but has caused controversy in the past following the behaviour of Queen’s students in the Holylands area.