After several months of deliberation, the Republic of Ireland government has finally reached a decision on the much rumoured additional public holiday.
A new public holiday to recognise the efforts of the country during the Covid-19 pandemic and to remember those who lost their lives has been agreed by the Irish Government.
The once-off holiday will take place this spring on Friday March 18th. The holiday will be followed by a day of remembrance and recognition, to take place over St Patrick’s weekend.
Furthermore, a permanent new public holiday on which employees are entitled to a paid day off is to be established from next year in celebration of St Brigid’s day.
This holiday will take place the first Monday of every February – except where St Brigid’s day, the first day of February, happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday will be a public holiday.
The designation of public holidays falls to the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who said the once-off holiday on March 18th will mean a four-day weekend because March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, is also a public holiday.
“We decided to make this decision now on a public holiday, rather than wait until the pandemic is over, because so many have already given so much. It also roughly marks the second anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland,” he said.
The new St Brigid’s day holiday will bring the number of public holidays in Ireland to 10, and means that all four of the traditional Celtic seasonal festival – Bealtaine in May, Lunaghasa in August and Samhain or Halloween in October/November – will now be public holidays.
Mr Varadkar said the new public holiday to mark St Brigid’s day “will be the first Irish public holiday named after a woman.”
“It marks the half-way point between the winter solstice and the equinox, the beginning of spring and the Celtic New Year. The creation of a tenth public holiday will bring Ireland more into line with the European average and it is one of five new workers’ rights that I am establishing this year.”