Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day parade has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears.
The annual celebration can see up to 500,000 revellers filling the streets of the Irish capital.
The decision was taken at a cabinet sub-committee on Monday afternoon following advice of public health officials.
Irish Health Minister Simon Harris has said the coronavirus situation is “very serious”.
He said it was going to require not just a “whole of government approach, but a whole of society approach”.
Mr Harris told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that there was a moderate-to-high risk that Ireland would follow a pattern seen in other EU countries with regard to the Covid-19 outbreak such as Italy, France and Germany.
He said he wanted people to know that every decision taken would not be political, saying it would be taken on public health advice.
He added that the best possible way of dealing with the virus was to slow its spread by practising good hygiene, and encouraging people to work from home.
Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke said: “I am pleased to say the St Patrick’s Day Parade is cancelled. People’s health comes first. Thank you”.
Visit Dublin’s official Twitter page posted a statement saying: “Due to the #CoronavirusOutbreak, many upcoming high profile events in #Dublin have been cancelled. This includes the @stpatricksfest parade.”
Due to the #CoronavirusOutbreak, many upcoming high profile events in #Dublin have been cancelled. This includes the @stpatricksfest parade. We'll be updating our What's On listings in the coming days to reflect these cancellations, but for now see: https://t.co/OjSSVk229Q— Dublin.ie (@Dublin_ie) March 9, 2020
The city council said public welfare was paramount and cancellation was the correct decision.
Earlier on Monday, Cork moved to cancel its parade, the second largest in the country attracting up to 50,000 people. Sligo, in the north of the Republic, as well as various smaller towns, had already called off their festivities.
Parades are held across Ireland on March 17th every year in celebration of the country’s patron saint, St Patrick.
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