Mayor of Derry Brian Tierney urges citizens to celebrate St. Patrick's Day safely amid ongoing COVID-19 emergency

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane Brian Tierney has appealed to citizens to celebrate St. Patrick's Day safely amid the ongoing COVID-19 emergency this week.

For the second year running local festivities in honour of the national patron have been significantly reduced as a result of the continued presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the city and the danger of transmission.

Mayor Tierney urged people to act responsibly in order not to jeopardise a hoped for return to normality over the coming months if infection rates continue to reduce as the vaccine roll-out proceeds.

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"Who could have imagined that a year later we would still be living with this virus and that once again our Spring carnival celebrations would have to be put on hold.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day safely in Derry says Mayor Tierney.

"The message now - as it was then – is that our actions can and will make a difference.

"So once again I am asking that we please avoid unnecessary gatherings this St Patrick's Day – we know that by staying at home, following the guidance to wash our hands, socially distance and only make necessary journeys – that we can stop the spread."

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Mayor Tierney sounded a note of optimism about the months ahead when the roll out of the vaccine locally should offer a return to some normality.

"We have come a long way and, as our vaccine programme continues to make progress, please give it a chance to have the positive effect we are all hoping for.

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"Let's keep infection rates down while we continue to vaccinate those most vulnerable – let's make this final push to ensure we can begin the phased return to normal life.

"Let's do what we can to make things safer for our school children, our teachers, our front line workers and our retail staff as society begins to take those first forward steps.

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"I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts – these are unprecedented times and they call for a huge sacrifice from us all – but we can and will get through it.

"There will be some online and outdoor activities for you to enjoy through Council's Spring Carnival Programme, with fairy trails, creative installations and outdoor displays to enjoy."

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Find out more about the activities planned at www.derrystrabane.com/insideout

Council bin collections will be operating as normal on St Patrick's Day, Wednesday, March 17, and Council recycling centres will also be open as normal.

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Council offices will be closed on Wednesday, March 17 and will reopen on Thursday, March 18.​