Croydon Council has been accused of attacking the borough's Irish community by cancelling St Patrick's Day celebrations.

In past years, the council organised a flag-raising ceremony outside Taberner House, in addition to hosting a Civic Reception on March 17, but this year the annual reception has been cancelled.

The decision, made by Croydon Mayor's Office, has attracted much criticism from the borough's Irish community, with many people venting their anger on Twitter.

Labour Leader Councillor Tony Newman said: "I am deeply saddened that Croydon Council has taken this decision with no explanation or consultation with the Irish community. It is short sighted and regrettable.

"The contribution to Croydon from Irish people is infinite. The St Patrick's Day flag-raising ceremony and Civic Reception has been celebrated in Croydon for decades. This is a slap in the face for Irish folk in Croydon."

A spokesman for Croydon Council said the decision to cancel the reception was made because it was felt it would be more inclusive for the local community to have the opportunity to invite the Mayor to support and attend a local event.

He added: "The flag will be flown from the Town Hall to mark this day, in line with council policy when flying the appropriate flag on other national saints day."