St Patrick’s Day cancelled in Ireland

St Patrick's Day cancelled

With Ireland’s government maintaining the highest “Level 5” Covid-19 restriction, St Patrick’s Day celebrations have been cancelled throughout the country.

There will be no parades in Ireland on Mar. 17 for the second year in a row.

The government has warned that people who try to organise parties to celebrate the day will face fines and criminal prosecution.

However, with St Patrick’s Day parades being cancelled, revellers will be able to enjoy an online festival.

The online festival will run from Mar. 12 to Mar. 17. It will include socially distanced marching bands, pageantry and ceremony.

This will allow audiences to “participate virtually and enjoy safely from their homes until we can come together again.”

Ireland has reported 225,000 cases and 4,500 deaths from the coronavirus, from a population of 4.8 million. It is one of the 10 European countries where the British variant of the virus is now dominant.

The easing of restrictions in December encouraged many exhausted by the Covid lockdown to celebrate Christmas together.

However, in the following weeks, Ireland experienced a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases.

January tallied more deaths and new Covid cases than in all of 2020.

After that setback, the government instituted a pandemic lockdown that has largely turned back the coronavirus wave.

Level 5 restrictions include

  • a ban on all household visits,
  • the closing of nonessential retail stores,
  • a 5-kilometre limit on trave,
  • only six people can attend a wedding,
  • just 10 people are allowed at a funeral,
  • churches must remain closed except for private prayer, and
  • sports events both indoors and outdoors are forbidden.

The unpopular restrictions are expected to continue at least through Easter.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference joined the domestic chorus of government critics.

“We strongly believe that people’s freedom to worship publicly should be restored as soon as the current Level 5 restrictions begin to be eased,” the bishops said in a statement released after their spring conference on Mar. 9.

“It is particularly painful for Christians to be deprived, for the second year running, of the public expression of our faith during the most sacred time of Holy Week and Easter. This is especially true given that it has been clearly demonstrated that church buildings are among the safest places for people to gather.”

The bishops also complained that ongoing restrictions at funeral Masses—currently limited to 10 participants—“are causing untold grief to many families.”


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