The shamrock bowl handover at the White House has been cancelled due complications caused by the coronavirus.
The traditional St Patrick’s Day reception sees the Irish Taoiseach present a Shamrock bowl to the US President.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is currently in Washington DC to meet President Trump. He arrived a day later than planned due to complications brought about by the corona outbreak.
Varadkar and Trump are expected to take part in an ‘extended bilateral’ discussion. The handover ceremony is not included in the President’s daily schedule.
President Trump has taken part in the tradition in previous years with Taoiseachs Varadkar and his predecessor Enda Kenny.
The cancellation follows the news that New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade has been cancelled for the first time in 258 years.
Parades in Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia have also been cancelled.
All major St Patrick’s Day festivals such as Dublin, Cork and Galway have also been cancelled in Ireland, although events in smaller towns are currently still planned to go ahead.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo had discussions with the organisers of the parade before the decision was made.
He said: “One of the most effective ways to contain the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings and close contacts, and I applaud the parade’s leadership for working cooperatively with us.”
Trump has also announced that flights between mainland Europe and the US will be suspended for 30 days – although flights to the US from Ireland and the UK are not suspended for the time being.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling