Good news for fans of leisure time in Ireland – it looks as though there could be two more bank holidays next year.
And not before time – Ireland has among the lowest number of public holidays in Europe – just nine, while the European average is 11.
Irish MEP Brian Hayes has been a long-time critic of Ireland’s lack of bank holidays. He recently said that the Irish workers deserved more days off as a thank you for both their hard work and their sacrifices in getting the country moving again following the crash.
He said: “As a recovery country with pay restoration dominating national debate it’s time to look at our public holidays.
“The European average is 11 and we lie second last with 9 public holidays a year. Finland (15), Malta and Spain (14) have a full week more public holidays than Irish workers.
“There has been a lot of talk about the sacrifices made during the crash. Increasing the number of public holidays would be a real way to honour that sacrifice.”
Now it seems that Mr Hayes could be getting his way as plans for two new public holidays are in the pipeline.
The first will hopefully be on 1 February, a date proposed by the Green Party, to mark Lá Fhéile Bride, or St Brigid’s Day.
St Brigid is one of Ireland’s patron saints and her day is already celebrated by many but is not a recognised public holiday.
Sinn Fein have also proposed that 24 April should become a public holiday in honour of the men and women who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “Ireland has the third fewest public holidays in Europe, and fourth fewest public holidays in the world. Practically speaking, the Sinn Féin motion introduces another public holiday at a time of year when we have two bank holidays, while the longest period without a bank holiday remains from St Stephen’s Day, December 26, to St Patrick’s Day, March 17.
“The start of February is filled with significance, marking the first day of Spring and the Celtic festival of Imbolc. Lá Fhéile Bríde is a positive, potent celebration of new beginnings, the turning of the seasons and the cyclical nature of our life on Earth.”
We at Ireland Calling feel there is no reason not to introduce both. As Mr Hayes said, the public deserve a big thank you from the government for their efforts following the 2008 crash.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling