THE organisers of the Washington St Patrick's Day Parade have said they are "distraught" that they have had to cancel this year's event after global terror attacks led to spiralling security costs.
Irish-Americans in Washington have held a St Patrick's Day parade annually since 1971 and are due to celebrate their milestone 50th parade next year.
However, there was disappointment after The St Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington, DC said they are a voluntary organisation and don't have enough money to hold this year's event.
They explained in a statement how devastating attacks such as a truck being driven into Bastille Day crowds in Nice, France in 2016, which killed 86 people and left hundreds injured, has led to their security being tightened and they can't afford the extra costs.
"Each parade is planned well in advance and includes multiple meetings with neighborhood Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, the National Park Service, and the Mayor’s Special Events Task Force among other stakeholders.
"The greatest overhead in producing an event of this magnitude is the government-related expense of security and street closures.
"After the 2016 tragedy in Nice, France, the government of the District of Columbia has significantly increased preventative security requirements for public gatherings such as the St. Patrick’s Parade. The corresponding rapid increase in overhead, in combination with relatively stagnant funding, have put the Committee in a precarious financial position.
"Certain expenses are off-set by a grant from the government of the District of Columbia. We have relied on this grant support for many years, but as costs have increased, recently the grant has not had the same effect in reducing our financial burden.
"This reality and the Committee’s steadfast commitment to holding the St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, DC in 2020, its 50th year, have led us to the very difficult but necessary decision to cancel the 2019 St. Patrick’s Parade."
Scheduled events to fundraise for their milestone 50th St Patrick's Day in 2020 will still go ahead as planned, the group confirmed.