Across the country St Patrick's Day parades are cancelled or postponed because of the foot and mouth crisis.

The cancellation of parades is not only a disappointment for members of the public but also for those who had planned on taking part in the parades.

Members of the Hayes High School Rebel Band from Austin Texas have travelled to Ireland to take part in the Dublin parade only to discover that it has been cancelled. While they are disappointed, the band mmebers are still happy to be in Ireland. Rachel Deville says,

We still get to come and see all the beautiful scenery and shop and just have a great time.

Another member of the group Fabian Hernandez says,

It's pretty exciting just to be here.

Last year the Dublin parade was attended by thousands of people but this year the festivities have been put on hold.

Maria Moynihan of the Dublin St Patrick’s Festival says that when foot and mouth outbreak is over, the festival will go ahead and will be a celebration of all that has been achieved.

While many parades have been cancelled around the country, some will still go ahead but will be very different. A parade in Leitrim will be indoors on a smaller scale in a local pub. The island of Inishturk off the coast of County Mayo will have a parade at sea.

All the boats on the island will be sailing around the holy island of Caher three times in an anti-clockwise direction.

In Limerick, like Dublin, the parade has been cancelled with a loss of around £3 million to the city. Mayor of Limerick John Ryan says that there is a great spirit among the people to prevent the spread of foot and mouth but this comes at a cost to both the farming community and business. He is critical of Minister of Finance Charlie McCreevy who says that farmers will be compensated for the loss of income. John Ryan believes that a lot of other businesses need to be compensated too.

As most of the parades are cancelled, many people will think of taking a walk in the countryside over the long weekend. However, Wicklow Uplands Council are asking people to stay away from the countryside over risks of spreading foot and mouth. Gilly Carey is just a countryside warden who has been patrolling around the Sugar Loaf mountain over the past few weekends. She warns people that they should stay out of mountainous areas during the crisis. Colin Murphy of Wicklow Uplands has the same word of warning for walkers.

We do have to be very careful with this Foot and Mouth scare.

All national parks where animals roam will remain closed but many city parks will be open.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 March 2001. The reporter is Eileen Whelan.