Dáil Éireann - Volume 537 - 31 May, 2001
Written Answers. - St. Patrick's Festivities.
Dr. Upton Dr. Upton
37. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation if, in view of the success of the St. Patrick's festival on the weekend of 18-20 May 2001, he has had any discussions with tourism interests regarding the possibility of a permanent event around that time of year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16209/01]
Dr. McDaid Dr. McDaid
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): The decision earlier this year by the board of the festival company to defer the original St. Patrick's Day festivities due to the foot and mouth disease crisis was a particular blow, both to the country as a whole and to the tourism industry in particular. The worldwide reaction following the postponement of the parade and celebrations on 17 March demonstrated the value of the St. Patrick's festivities to our image abroad and the vital contribution it makes in the marketing and promotion of tourism to Ireland at the start of the traditional tourist season. For this reason I look forward to the festivit ies in 2002 being held over the weekend of 17 March, as is normal.
I am delighted that the restrictions put in place by the Government to ward off the threat of the foot and mouth disease, and the overwhelming public support for those restrictions, worked so well to achieve that end. As a result it was possible to reschedule the festival and to celebrate it, albeit belatedly, in May. The rescheduled event helped to reassure our tourists, both at home and abroad, that Ireland is now fully open for business, that it is a safe place to visit and that it offers some of the best tourist attractions, festivals and activities to be found anywhere in the world.
Given the, hopefully, once-off nature of the foot and mouth disease crisis, and the fact that there are many other events to celebrate at this time of year, I do not believe it will be necessary to reschedule festivities from March to May next year.
Question No. 38 answered with Question No. 23.
Dáil Éireann 537 Written Answers. St. Patrick's Festivities.