A LOCAL councillor has called for Saint Patrick's Day celebrations to be cancelled before more people in Cork are infected with coronavirus.
Cork North Central Independent Councillor Ken O'Flynn has said that city council can't afford to wait for national guidelines and needs to take action now.
He added that the parades need to be cancelled along with any religious ceremonies taking place to mark the occasion.
"Everyone seems to be waiting for the national guidelines," he said. "Three weeks ago there were three cases of the virus in Italy, now that number has risen to 3,000. The numbers are steadily increasing.
"Everyone seems to be waiting for the national guidelines. I feel sorry for the business owners. I'm a business owner who is experiencing this too.
"However, our people's safety is above this. It's now about the scale of the pandemic. Even though the World Health Organisation hasn't called it a pandemic yet, it meets all the criteria.
"We have to be proactive and act within the interest of our citizens. Any public gatherings should now be postponed. We need to lead by example."
He called for action adding: "This has been going on since January. From day one, experts were telling us that this was going to sweep the world, yet it's only now that isolation units are being built. We need to be looking to experts and identifying the best standard of practice. We can't afford to be lackadaisical. If the government isn't going to lead by example we have to take a proactive approach. There is no point in sitting on our hands waiting for Leo Varadkar to give us guidelines. This needs to happen now."
He proposed that an alternative celebration take place during the summer: "The practical thing to do would be to postpone the celebrations until the June bank holiday weekend."