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May Day

Bank holidays: Here's how Ireland measures up compared to other EU countries

We lag behind many of our neighbours when it comes to public holidays.

WE’RE HEADING INTO the first bank holiday of the summer tomorrow – but how does Ireland measure up in terms of public holidays, compared to other EU states?

2222 Statista Statista

As you can see from the selection of countries shown in the chart above, we lag quite a few days behind countries like Austria and Sweden when it comes to public holidays.

Here are the official public holidays for Ireland for 2017:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May, June, August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)

There have been a number of calls for an extra bank holiday to be added to the calendar in recent years.

Plans put forward by Sinn Féin to celebrate the Easter Rising by introducing a new holiday were rejected by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys last year.

However Humphreys’ Fine Gael colleague Brian Hayes has backed the idea of a new public holiday.

Speaking last October the MEP said:

Additional structured bank holidays can generate economic activity and jobs. The October bank holiday is the perfect example. Following its introduction we saw the growth and development of the Jazz festival in Cork and the Dublin City Marathon.

The statistics in the chart above come from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency. They come with something of a health warning, however: certain countries don’t make up for a lost holiday day, should annual celebrations fall on a Sunday.

However, that we boast one of the lowest tallies of public holidays in the EU is certain.

The UK lags behind us with eight holidays. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised to introduce another four public holidays if his party wins June’s snap election – including on St Patrick’s Day.

Read: Jeremy Corbyn vows to introduce four new public holidays in UK >

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