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'No formal decision yet' on St Patrick's Day double bank holiday this year

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that “we just haven’t pushed the button yet”.

The St. Patrick's Day parade in 2019.
The St. Patrick's Day parade in 2019.
Image: Sam Boal

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said “no formal decision” has been made on plans for a double bank holiday at St. Patrick’s Day this year as “the pandemic is not yet over”. 

Plans for a day of remembrance and recognition for those who died and worked throughout the pandemic have been in train for some time and the government has earmarked the beginning of February as the preferred date. 

The February date would begin in 2023, with Varadkar previously stating that the new bank holiday could be observed this year on 18 March following the country’s national holiday. 

Asked today how the plans were progressing, Varadkar told RTÉ’s News at One that the March date was still being proposed but that no decision had been taken. 

“No formal decision has been made yet but what we’re working on is a proposal to have a double bank holiday for St. Patrick’s Day, that would be 17 and 18 March and then a new permanent bank holiday for St. Brigid’s Day which would come into effect on 2023, but we just haven’t pushed the button on that yet,” he said. 

We’re still fighting this pandemic, it’s not over yet. The purpose of the day will be a day to remember those who have been lost and to recognise all of the people who’ve done phenomenal work during this period and it just seems that it’s too early to make a decision on that given that this is not yet over. 

The government is also understood to be considering the nature of Covid restrictions at any potential date, as it is hoped that a new bank holiday would be beneficial to the hospitality industry. 

The Tourism Recovery Plan from the Tourism Recovery Taskforce said among its recommendations that an additional bank holiday in the off-peak season should be considered.

Ireland lags behind a host of several European countries in the number of public holidays provided in the State.  

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Varadkar’s department, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, is considering when a new public holiday could be implemented and, in a statement to The Journal, also said that no formal decision has been made.  

“No decision has been made yet regarding the optimal date for an additional public holiday. The purpose would be remembrance of those who died and recognition of the contribution made by the Irish people to fighting the pandemic. Sadly, due to the Omicron wave, this fight is continuing,” the department said. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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