IRELAND’S NATIONAL HOLIDAY, St Patrick’s Day, is just over a fortnight away – but if Sinn Féin has its way, Ireland could be getting another public holiday to rival March 17 in terms of its meaning for the Irish.
Last month the party tabled legislation looking to create a new national holiday on April 24, to be known as ‘Lá na Poblachta’ (or ‘Republic Day’) – with a board set up to take responsibility for running events to mark the date on which the Easter Rising began in 1916.
Ireland is relatively unique in that it doesn’t have any public or national holiday on a date that marks its independence, unlike most countries with a history of colonialism. Many would argue that an increasingly secular country should not celebrate a saint’s feast day as its holiday.
However, St Patrick’s Day already has world recognition greater than almost any national holiday – and diluting that by introducing a separate holiday could be damaging to tourism and Ireland’s attempts to sell itself abroad.
So – do you think the anniversary of the Easter Rising should be declared a public holiday?