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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 2 December 2020
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Civil servants hold onto their two 'privilege days'

The days – taken at Easter and Christmas – date back to pre-Independence days.

Walk this way: Civil servants retain their 'privilege days'
Walk this way: Civil servants retain their 'privilege days'
Image: Dave Wild via Flickr

THE GOVERNMENT’S PLAN to get rid of two so-called “privilege days” traditionally given to civil servants at Easter and Christmas has been stopped in its tracks.

An arbitration board chaired by barrister Turlough O’Sullivan found that getting rid of the days would not lead to any great savings for the employer, ie, the government. It was also decided that to get rid of the privilege days would create a sense of grievance “disproportionate” to any such fiscal gains. The Irish Examiner reports that the two days will be added to civil servants’ annual leave.

Confused by what a “privilege day” is? Check out this interesting nugget posted by Dr Bill Tormey, leader of the Fine Gael group on Dublin City Council. He proffers the explanation of “retired solicitor Mr James Mackey of Dalkey” who says that the privilege days date back to before “Saorstat Eireann was born”. He writes:

At that time, a privilege day off was given to civil servants to mark the King’s Birthday and Empire Day. The staff did not want to lose their two days’ “privilege” leave so a deal was done for two concession days covering Easter and Christmas.

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