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Coronavirus: Dublin St Patrick's Day parade cancelled as Belfast council considers own event

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Participants take part in the St Patrick’s Day parade on the streets of Dublin in 2017 (PA)

Participants take part in the St Patrick’s Day parade on the streets of Dublin in 2017 (PA)

Participants take part in the St Patrick’s Day parade on the streets of Dublin in 2017 (PA)

Belfast City Council is understood to be considering cancelling the annual St Patrick’s Day parade in the city following the cancellation of Dublin’s parade.

The Irish Government cancelled Dublin's St Patrick's Day parade in response to the coronavirus outbreak during a Cabinet sub-committee meeting on Monday.

It comes after Cork cancelled its parade earlier on Monday.

More than 500,000 people are expected to travel to the Republic of Ireland for St Patrick's Day parades and festivals.

Dublin officials said the decision was made following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

In a statement, Cork City Council said public welfare had to be paramount and it felt the cancellation of the parade was the correct decision.

Following a Cobra meeting in London, Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster said there were no plans in the UK to cancel large gatherings.

As things stand the Belfast parade is still on, but that could change by the end of Monday, with the city council believed to be considering the risk of hosting the celebration, which attracts thousands of revellers each year as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in Northern Ireland.

On Friday the council said there were no plans to cancel it.

“We will continue to follow public health advice and will act in accordance with any advice received," a spokeswoman said.

But the cancellation of Ireland’s biggest parade in Dublin has prompted a re-think at council considering the health fears.

On Sunday, five people were diagnosed with coronavirus in NI, bringing the number of cases to 12. In the Republic 21 people have been confirmed as having the virus. Four people have died in the UK with the death toll globally over 3,000.

Belfast Telegraph