THE axe has fallen on a string of major local events this week due to the threat COVID-19 poses for public health.
Among the latest casualties is Garden Show Ireland which was due to be held in the Castle Gardens in early May.
The organisers say the decision was taken ‘with great regret’, adding that it will not now be held until 2021.
“Although this will come as a huge disappointment, it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our visitors and participants.
“We would like to thank you for the enthusiasm with which everyone has greeted the return of Allianz Garden Show Ireland this year and we look forward very much to welcoming you to the Show next May.
“All tickets will be re-funded just as soon as we are able to process them.
“Thank you in advance for your continued support, and your understanding. We hope you will join us next year to celebrate the Show's return.”
The Irish Game Fair at Shane’s Castle which was due to run at the end of June is also off - but they hope to get the all clear for the weekend of August 29-30.
Announcing the change, Show Director Albert Titterington said it was the ‘only responsible measure’ open to them.
“This year we have planned to stage a single all-Ireland Fair entirely centred on Shane’s, making this by far the largest event of its kind in Ireland, attracting huge attendance from across Ireland as well as significant involvement of European competitors and trader,” he said.
“Having decided, in the interests of traders, competitors and visitors, to postpone the event we were fortunate in being able to secure the last weekend in August, the traditional dates of our former Game and Country Fair at Birr in County Offaly. We therefore know from experience that this is great timing for the countrysports and rural communities.
“We look forward to providing a superb ‘end of summer’ event in a year when our tourism calendar will, sadly and inevitably, be badly affected by cancellations.”
Toome Horse Fair is also officially off.
“In the interests of the well-being of our local community and visitors, Tidal will not be organising Toome Fair this year, due to COVID-19.
“This is unfortunate but not unexpected.”
They added that any traders or stall holders who decide to set up regardless will be doing so with the authorisation of the council or the PSNI.