Wednesday 16 January 2019

Mallow eyes are smiling as parade gets the green light

Bill Browne

Mallow eyes will be smiling on St Patrick's Day thanks to the 11th hour intervention of the local Tidy Towns group. 

This after fears had been raised that the St Patrick's Day parade could be cancelled for only the second time in more than three decades over an insurance issue. 

On Monday the chair of the parade committee, Noel O'Connor, issued a statement that the parade had been cancelled following an instruction three weeks ago by Gardaí that a full road closure order had to be put in place along the route. In previous years the committee had managed traffic during the parade in conjunction with local Gardaí. 

At short notice the committee set about arranging the road closure. However, with just a week to go to the parade, the committee was informed their insurance cover would have to indemnify Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for activities during the road closure. 

Mr O'Connor said it transpired their cover, which they had negotiated for the previous 31-years and cost in the region of €700, was no longer sufficient to cover the road closure requirements of the Council. When the committee's efforts to secure the additional indemnity cover proved fruitless the committee withdrew the closure application, effectively cancelling the parade. 

The news caused uproar, with hundreds of people taking to social media to vent their anger and frustration at the situation. 

Mr O'Connor said that he was subsequently contacted by local public representatives, including Cllr Melissa Mullane and TD's Sean Sherlock and David Stanton, offering their support. 

He said the breakthrough came after Council executives Mary Hayes and Liz Donovan suggested the committee approach Mallow Tidy Towns. 

Its chairman, Niall O'Keeffe, contacted their insurance providers and on Tuesday morning an agreement was reached with them to provide the insurance indemnity to the Council for the road closure. 

"I am pleased to say that the parade will definitely take place as originally scheduled from 2pm next Saturday," Mr O'Connor confirmed. 

Speaking to the Corkman on Tuesday Tidy Towns vice-chair Brendan O'Shea praised the efforts of  all involved in getting the parade back on track, in particular singling out Niall O' Keeffe and Mary Hayes. 

"Tidy Towns was delighted to in a position to come on board and absorb the parade committee so the parade could go ahead," said Mr O'Shea. 

He pointed out that a similar arrangement exists in Cobh saying Tidy Towns felt there was no reason why it could not be used in Mallow.

"From our own point of view, we had invested a lot of time and effort into our float and were going to use it to promote our 'Get Fitter, Pick Litter' initiative so were keen to ensure the parade went ahead," said Mr O'Shea. 

"The Mallow Tidy Towns committee has a 'will do, can do' attitude as shown by the work we do all the time around the town. Great credit must go to both Niall O'Keeffe and Mary Hayes who have to be complimented for the effort and energy they put in to make sure the parade went ahead. They are the two key people who made this happen," he added.



The Mallow St Patrick's Day Parade will go ahead at 2pm on Saturday, with participants asked to assemble at the park Road from 1pm.

The parade will be led out by a Colour Party from the Reserve Defence Forces followed by the Thomas Davis Pipe Band and Grand Marshall Corrie O'Flynn.

Participants will make their way along to the parade route to the stand on Davis Street where the parade will be reviewed by invited dignitaries and competition judges.

A special prize will be awarded to the entry that best sums up the theme of this year's parade 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling'.