Covid-19: Parade in St Patrick's burial place cancelled

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Image caption,
The last time the crowds were able to take to enjoy Downpatrick's parade was 2019

Annual St Patrick's Day parades in Downpatrick and Newry will not be going ahead in 2021 due to ongoing concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

It is believed that St Patrick is buried in Downpatrick, County Down.

It is the second year that parades in the area have been cancelled, and it follows a decision by Belfast City Council to cancel its celebrations.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said it was a decision it had taken with "great regret".

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he lived in the 5th century AD and is understood to have played a major part in converting the Irish to Christianity.

The council's chairperson, councillor Laura Devlin. said the decision had been made "in the best interests of our local residents, visitors, festival participants and event partners".

She said the annual parades were normally an opportunity to "celebrate the district's connection with St Patrick and our important place in his story".

"I know how disappointed many of you will be. I share your disappointment. However, the council's priority at this time is to continue to support the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic across wider society," she added.

In a statement, the council said it would continue to review other planned tourism events for the year, in line with guidance from the executive.

Other cancellations

Belfast City Council has said an "alternative programme of activity" is taking place to mark the day in the city, which would depend on restrictions at the time, adding "the delivery and format of these events is being kept under review".

Meanwhile, Derry City and Strabane District Council has said how St Patrick's Day will be celebrated there is currently "under review".

In Derry City and Strabane, a report outlining possible options for all public events planned for 2021, including St Patrick's Day, is to go before the council's business and culture committee next month.