Dublin's St Patrick’s Day parade cancelled amid coronavirus fears

Dublin's annual St Patrick’s Day parade has been cancelled over fears about coronavirus.

The new Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 made the decision following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team, it is understood.

It comes hours after Cork City cancelled its St Patrick’s Day parade.

In light of Cork's decision, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin would be “the responsible and necessary thing to do”.

There are 33 cases of coronavirus confirmed on the island of Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, two new cases were confirmed on Sunday evening bringing the total to 21 while the number of cases in Northern Ireland currently stands at 12.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to brief the media this afternoon after he met with political party leaders.

On Monday morning, senior members of government and health experts discussed how to deal with the impact of the virus as well as strengthening employment protection laws and support for people who have to self-isolate.

It has also been confirmed that Mr Varadkar is to shorten his St Patrick’s visit to the US to attend further meetings about coronavirus.

Mr Varadkar is not attending an engagement in New York on Tuesday and instead will begin his trip in Washington on Wednesday.

The parade was due to take place on St Patrick's Day, 17 March. Credit: PA

He had been due to attend a UN event in New York, but a government spokesman said the Taoiseach will start his visit by attending engagements on Wednesday evening.

On Monday, Ireland’s health minister said the coronavirus outbreak in the country will become “very serious”, and there is a moderate to high risk it could follow in similar ways as experienced in other European nations.

Simon Harris said it will require a whole of government and whole of society approach to deal with the escalation in coronavirus cases.

He said the country’s health service will not be found wanting in its resources to tackle the outbreak.

Speaking to RTE Morning Ireland, Mr Harris said: “There’s a moderate to high risk of this, according to the European experts, taking hold in a very serious way in Ireland (and) that would require a prioritisation of services.

Credit: PA Graphics