THERE will be no parade in Portlaoise on St Patrick’s Day.
Just 11 days after the organising committee released a statement saying that it would go ahead, yesterday (Monday 17 February) it issued another statement saying that this year’s event has been cancelled.
Following a meeting on Thursday 6 February, a spokesperson for the committee said: “We have just held a meeting tonight and we would like to inform you that the parade will go ahead, subject to planning for an event licence to Laois County Council Planning Department.
“We are looking for clubs, organisations, schools and businesses to participate on the day. If you or a group would like to participate in the parade, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. This year’s theme is Climate Change – Junk Kouture.
The statement ended: “More info to come in the next few days, please keep an eye out.”
And more info certainly did come on Monday, when the committee issued another statement.
In it they said: “In January every year, a small group of volunteers meet once a week and plan the upcoming St Patrick’s Day Parade.
“As years go on, that group became smaller and smaller and has now come to a point where the workload putting the parade together outweighs the number of volunteers we have.
“However, volunteers are not just an issue for us, and I am sure it is the same for many parade committees around the country. This year, we have been faced with numerous obstacles.
“We have been faced with increased regulations and conditions involved in holding a large event such as ours. Adding extremely high costs to the above, it proves next to impossible to put the parade together.
“This decision has not and is not easy for the outstanding volunteers on the committee and the amazing volunteers we have had in the past. We as a committee would love nothing more than to bring you these great events, but unfortunately, this year it will not be possible.
“A word of thanks to our volunteers, our sponsors and everybody that has helped us along the way. Hopefully we will see you on the streets of Portlaoise in 2021.”
However, it wasn’t all bad news on the Paddy’s Day parades front in Laois, as the biennial parade and festival will be held in Durrow this year as well as parades and festivals in other towns and villages such as Abbeyleix, Mountrath and Mountmellick.
The Clonaslee parade will make a welcome return after 40 years in abeyance. Despite more than 20 local organisations already signed up to take part in the parade, the organisers are urging all other clubs, committees, residents associations and schools to come on board and get involved. If you are interested in taking part, you can find out more by phoning Brendan on 087 9675054 or Ronan on 085 1482296.
Last year, there were parades and festivals in other towns and villages in Laois as well, such as in Rathdowney, Killeshin, Stradbally, Spink, Timahoe, Rosenallis and Vicarstown. With just under a month to go to St Patrick’ Day parade committees in these areas are expected to make announcements in the coming weeks about their starting times.