CONCERNED DUBLINERS have launched a petition to cancel the annual St Patrick's Day parade amid growing fears the coronavirus could hit Ireland.
According to DublinLive, the petition calls for both the HSE and the Irish Government to cancel the city centre event, which draws half a million people each year, some from abroad.
The petition comes after a meeting between Minister for Health Simon Harris and the IRFU, which led to a decision to cancel the Ireland versus Italy Six Nations fixture which was due to be played in Dublin.
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected tens of thousands and killed thousands worldwide, and has led to Minister Harris saying there would be some "big decisions that have to be made in the coming days [regarding] mass gatherings".
Dublin's St Patrick's Day Parade, as well as a planned Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales, were cancelled in 2001 as 'Foot and Mouth' disease spread across Ireland and the UK.
Several Dubliners phoned in to 98FM's radio show Dublin Talks to argue that the same thing should be done for this year's parade, saying "it needs to be done" and "one day out of the year isn't going to hurt us where we don't celebrate something".
A St Patrick's Day Festival spokesperson told Dublin Live that the festival is "monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 and will continue to do so.
"We follow the advice and direction of relevant authorities in all matters of public safety."