Cllr Alan Lewis pictured this morning at Saint Patrick’s grave laying flowers with his two young children, Harry and Olivia.
NEWRY, Mourne and Down Ulster Unionist Councillor Alan Lewis said he is disappointed the district wide festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row.
However, he said the more muted celebrations this year allowed for a deeper reflection of the Christian meaning behind the festival.
Cllr Alan Lewis says: “I am disappointed the district wide festival festivities and celebrations have been cancelled for a second year in a row. I commend the Saint Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick who have produced a wonderful line-up of virtual celebrations which will be streamed online around the world.
“However, the simplistic nature of this year's events helps us reflect on the true message of togetherness and Christian ethos behind the meaning of Saint Patrick.
“It’s important to reflect on history, understanding through learning, supports cohesion, shared narrative, ending bigotry and divisions.
“Today isn’t about the green white or orange, it’s about the glory of the Gospel, the word of truth, the greatness of our Lord and Saviour!
“Whatever the truth, myth or legend we know as FACT that Patrick’s life was entangled with upset and danger as against the odds he brought the message of Christianity to this island.”
And Cllr Lewis encouraged everyone to mark the day in a safe manner.
“I urge people who want to mark the day to do so sensibly with caution, giving thought to the current guidelines,” he said.
“What we do today will impact the length of our current lockdown.
“A lot of effort has gone into online events, I ask people enjoy them from the comfort of their home. I wish everyone a happy and enjoyable Saint Patrick’s Day.”