Shamrock Shocker for Saint Patrick
Byline: IAN STARRETT
THE wearing of the green on St Patrick's Day could be a casualty of the foot-and-mouth tragedy.
Sprigs of shamrock that still contain their roots threaten to spread the epidemic across the Emerald Isle on the saint's big day.
The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that the highly infectious disease can spread in soil.
And suppliers yesterday feared an acute shortage of the shamrock on March 17 following advice from the Department of Agriculture ''not to visit the countryside unnecessarily'' until further notice. Local authorities have been advised that there should be no visits or entry to agricultural lands unless absolutely necessary.
This advice would certainly apply to anyone roaming the countryside looking for wild shamrock - or clover, which is also used as a substitute - to make into sprigs to wear for St Patrick's Day.
One Londonderry shopkeeper said yesterday: ''We have several boxes ordered from a supplier but there is word that because of the restrictions the shamrock could be in short supply this year. …