Calls for St. Patrick's Day celebrations to be called off due to virus fears

Mon, 09/03/2020 - 15:43 -- Editor

SDLP MLAs have submitted a suite of urgent questions to Executive Ministers today on the action they have taken to prepare for a Coronavirus outbreak.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has also called on public authorities to postpone large scale public events including St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The Foyle MP said: “Our first priority must be to the health and safety of the public as the Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. SDLP MLAs have today submitted a suite of questions to Executive Ministers probing our preparedness for a significant outbreak on this island and asking what contingency plans are in place to protect public services.

“The questions we have submitted today are about safeguarding health service workers, ensuring there are plans in place should the outbreak get worse and protecting the public.

“Our response now should be based on preventing the kind of situation that has developed in Italy and China. The public will understand robust measures now to save lives later.

“That means all public authorities should be considering plans for large scale public events. Unfortunately that will require serious conversations about postponing St Patrick’s Day celebrations at short notice. We must be driven by public health and public safety concerns. Containment now is better that a more serious crisis tomorrow.”