Experts have warned that Northern Ireland’s annual summer rioting could be cancelled with the Covid-19 outbreak now affecting several European countries.
Each year, thousands of people across the province participate in violent public disturbances which rumble on for several weeks.
But if the spread of Covid-19 continues at its current pace, or is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, this year’s riots could be postponed until winter or cancelled entirely.
‘July provides the perfect conditions for prolonged riotous behaviour with its extended daylight hours and public holidays’, explained chief medical officer, Dr Steph O’Scope.
‘However, even though they’re quare craic to watch, the health of a person is more important than any riot with the peelers’, she sighed.
But organisers of the disturbances have dismissed the claims as ‘pure scaremongering’ and said the rioting will go ahead as planned.
50-yr-old menace to society, Chuck Stone, claims the summer months are essential when eager to engage in bitter sectarian street-fighting.
Stone, who’s been involved in cross-community brick-throwing since the age of 12, told us:
‘I prefer to do my rioting during the July fortnight’.
‘It means I can lob bricks and petrol bombs all night without the fear of any adverse effect on my performance in work the next day due to fatigue’.
‘The snow and cowl weather would seriously impact upon our abilities to engage in a running battle with the PSNI or those of a different religious persuasion’.
Meanwhile, seasoned rioter and long-term sick absentee Claude Mason (49) said that all precautions would be taken to stop the spread of Covid-19 during this summers riots:
‘All the lads have been told to wash their hands before and after lobbing a petrol bomb at the peelers’.
‘As many of us will be wearing balaclavas, touching our faces won’t be an issue’, he grinned.