The ever-expanding Irish community in Sydney has been dealt a huge blow after it was confirmed Australia's largest St. Patrick's Day parade will not go ahead this year.

The Sydney St. Patrick's Day parade – the world's fourth largest after New York, Dublin and Boston – has been axed due to financial problems, while major doubt hangs over its future.

Last year close to 80,000 revelers turned up to the long-running St. Patrick's Day and Family Day, after the Irish government and Irish community in Sydney pulled together to help with funding. But the event has been hampered with funding problems since 2014 when a storm hit the city just as the parade got underway.

The bad weather cost organizers of the usually-popular Family Day concert a fortune, and exposed a funding shortfall from which there has been no recovery.

In a statement event chiefs blamed the cancellation of this year's event – traditionally held on the closest Sunday to March 17 – on the ongoing financial situation.

The statement said: "Since election in December 2015, the Committee has been working hard to reduce the debt incurred in March 2014.

These endeavors will continue throughout 2016 until the debt is paid off and the Committee is in a position to fund future events.

"As a community-based organization, the Committee has historically relied on the generosity of the Irish-Australian community, as well as businesses to help with the ever-increasing costs of running this annual free event.

"It is our aim to get the Parade and Family Day back for 2017 and we are hoping that the community will continue to offer their support. There are already several fundraising strategies in place and we thank those who have already so generously donated funds."

According to a report in the Australian-based Irish Echo, the event is in a "trading halt until outstanding debts – in the region of Aus$140,000 ($100,000) – are paid."

Here's footage from the 2015 St. Patrick's Day Parade, in Sydney: