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Irish St. Patrick's Day parades cancelled over coronavirus

Written by Business World, on 9th Mar 2020. Posted in Ireland

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All Irish St. Patrick's Day parades, including Dublin's main celebration that draws some 500,000 revellers from around the world each year, were cancelled on Monday due to the risk of further coronavirus spread, local media reported.

Ireland has so far reported 21 cases, including the first community transmission of the virus last week as infections globally top 110,000.

The decision was made following a meeting of a new cabinet sub-committee on coronavirus on Monday, a number of local media including national broadcaster RTE and Sky News reported.

A news conference was scheduled after the meeting.

The March 17 public holiday is celebrated with parades in towns and villages with the flagship gathering in Dublin a major draw that kicks off the capital's tourism season.

Ireland has enjoyed a tourism boom in recent years after the sector recovered from global and domestic financial crises a decade ago, with visitors hitting a fresh high in each of the last five years, reaching almost 11 million in 2019.

Dalata Hotel Group, the largest hotel operator in Ireland, said on Monday it had observed a significant reduction in bookings and increase in cancellations following the spread of the virus to Europe last month, but that it was to early to estimate the financial impact.

The St Patrick's Day parades in Dublin and Ireland's second city of Cork - attended by about 50,000 people - were postponed in 2001 due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease that also led to the cancellation of major sports events, conferences and the closure of some national parks.

The parades were re-arranged and held two months later.

The holiday, marking the supposed date that Ireland's patron saint died in the fifth century, is also celebrated with parades around the world, particularly among the large Irish-American community in the United States.

In Ireland, it has been turned into a five-day festival and organisers say the economic benefit from the Dublin Parade alone is in excess of 73 million euros  (Reuters)

Source: www.businessworld.ie

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