THE Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan thanked the Irish community across the capital for “everything they have done to fight the pandemic” in a special St Patrick’s Day message this week.
Speaking to The Irish Post, Mr Khan admitted his disappointment over the fact that the usual St Patrick’s Festival and parade organised by the Mayor's office could not take place in the capital for a second year, due to the pandemic.
But he confirmed that their online event, being hosted today, will be a “fantastic virtual celebration”.
“The sight and sounds of Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds lining the streets for our St Patrick’s Day celebrations are always a highlight of our year, so it’s disappointing that we are not yet able to gather together in person,” Mr Khan said.
“But I’m delighted that we are able to host a fantastic virtual celebration,” he added.
“Together with the London Irish Centre, we will be putting on an online programme that pays tribute to the huge contribution of our Irish community and showcases the very best of Irish talent.
“We will be presenting a fitting celebration of creative workshops, music and storytelling, followed by a programme of live celebrations hosted by Angela Scanlon and friends.
“There will be a film festival from Irish Film London, which will include a selection of short films, feature films, animations and music videos, as well as a number of special events with screen talent and filmmakers from the Irish filmmaking community.”
Remarking on the year gone by, which has seen the country in lockdown for the majority of the past 12 months, Mr Khan thanked everyone for contributing to the fight against Covid.
“It's been an incredibly challenging year for us all and I’d like to thank everyone in London’s Irish community for everything you have done in the fight against the pandemic,” he said.
“The rollout of the vaccine means that we now have light at the end of the tunnel, and this means that the day is coming when we can be together in person again,” he added.
“I urge everyone to enjoy these online celebrations from the safety of your own home and I look forward to when we can celebrate together on the streets again.
“I wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh.”