Saturday 19 January 2019

Irish town celebrates 'Luck of the Irish' as St Patrick's Day parade is saved at eleventh hour

Mallow (Photo: Google Maps)
Mallow (Photo: Google Maps)

Ralph Riegel

A CORK town celebrated the 'Luck of the Irish' by saving its St Patrick's Day parade at the eleventh hour from cancellation over a route and insurance cover impasse.

Mallow had even posted public notices that it's St Patrick's Day parade planned for 2pm next Saturday was being cancelled.

The north Cork town was to stage its 31st parade with thousands expected to attend.

More than 100 floats, bands and marching groups were expected to participate in one of Munster's biggest St Patrick's Day events.

However, within hours of the cancellation notices being posted, a community group in Mallow - the Tidy Towns Committee - came to the rescue.

It agreed to allow its insurance cover to be used to provide the additional indemnity required.

The parade was saved and will now proceed on St Patrick's Day at 2pm as planned.

The Chairman of the Mallow St Patrick's Day Committee, Noel O'Connor, warned it was originally impossible to proceed with an event being planned for since October 26 last because of late route changes and insurance issues.

"The insurance issue thankfully was agreed - the situation has now been resolved. Of course it was a very drastic move to cancel the parade in the first place," he said.

"The committee has worked tirelessly since Christmas on the logistics of organising a safe, fun-packed parade in the town," he said.

But two weeks ago, the parade committee were informed major changes were required - with gardaí insisting on a full road closure of the parade route from its planned assembly time until a specified time after the parade conclusion.

"The next shock our committee got was when we were informed, with just one week to go, that to get our March 17 road closure from Cork County Council we would have to have the parade insurance policy indemnify the council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for all activities on the closed road for the closure period."

Mr O'Connor said the parade insurance cover, which costs around €700, was insufficient to cover the demand.

All efforts by the parade committee to secure the additional indemnity failed until the Mallow community group agreed to allow its insurance policy to be utilised.

It isn't the first time a St Patrick's Day parade in Cork has run into difficulties.

Six years ago, Blarney faced the threatened cancellation of its St Patrick's Day festival which centred on the ancient village square.

The village square belongs to the Colthurst family, the owners of Blarney Castle.

However, in 2012 Sir Charles and the Colthurst family were advised that a public liability insurance cover limit of €1.5m could potentially still leave them open to being sued over any injuries sustained by members of the public at the festival.

Blarney Estates – which runs the Colthurst family’s Blarney interests – had sought €6m in public liability cover from Blarney Community Council for the festival which they wanted to stage on the village square.

Without that insurance cover being in place, Sir Charles warned that the event could not use the village square.

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