No Portarlington St Patrick's Day parade is a 'huge loss'

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

St Patrick's Day Portarlington Laois

Portarlington St Patrick's Day Parade - Scoil Rince on parade Picture: Michael Scully.

The St Patrick’s Day parade in Portarlington has been called off this year as the skeleton committee has dwindled further making it too difficult to get the organising work done.

Caithriona Greene was the chairperson of the committee last year and rallied with a small group of people to pull the parade together. However, this year Caithriona has said the committee numbers are not there to do the work that is needed to pull off the festive family day.

“It is very sad to think that there will be no parade. I do it for 10,000 people that go out on the street and for the little kids who want to march in the cold with their club jerseys and face paints. It is a huge loss to the town.

“One person can’t do it you need 30 to 40 people on the day to help steward. Last year we were in the same boat with five or six people who volunteered and we got by with that,” she said.

While cost is a factor in running the parade, the committee managed to work with a budget under €5,000 last year.

“The rise in insurance cost doesn’t help but local businesses are very good to help out. It takes a lot of work to go around to all the businesses collecting money and rallying their support.

“We have to be sensible with how we spend the funds, it was around €4,500 last year,” she said.

Caithriona said the local businesses are great to donate and support the festival but the work that goes into organising the funds and collects it needs a committee behind it as it can be time-consuming.

She also said that local groups show great interest in marching in the parade but volunteers are needed to steward.

“There is great support on the day the groups all show up and support it and there is a huge sense of pride with marching in the parade. It is such a loss, people who did huge work last year are not available to commit to it and I can’t do it all. If we got 30 people together we could do it,” she said.

Caithriona hopes that a committee will come together again to have a parade next year.

Mountmellick St Patrick's Day festival has welcomed any Portarlington groups and clubs to march in its parade this year.

MORE: Mountmellick makes a weekend festival of St Patrick's Day.