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MEP calls for number of Irish public holidays to be increased

At present only three countries across Europe have fewer national holidays than the Republic.

12/8/2015. Good Sunny Weather Source: Sasko Lazarov

AN IRISH MEP has called for the number of public holidays here to be extended.

Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes has today, in advance of the Halloween Bank Holiday this coming Monday, highlighted the “low” number of holidays available to the general public here as national days off.

First a suggestion that daylight savings be banished, and now public holidays – Fine Gael MEPs have been working hard on the subject of time in the past week.

Citing statistics published by human resources consultants Mercer, Hayes says that Ireland, with nine holidays, has fewer public holidays than just three other EU countries – they being Hungary, the UK, and the Netherlands.

Irelandhols Number of Public Holidays by EU Country Source: Mercer

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The MEP for the Dublin area has said that in light of public pay restoration talks, additional public holidays should be granted to acknowledge the “sacrifices made during the economic crash”.

“As a recovery country with pay restoration dominating national debate it’s time to look at our public holidays. The European average is 11 and we lie second last with nine public holidays a year. Finland (15), Malta, and Spain (14) have a full week more public holidays than Irish workers,” Hayes 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.

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9/10/2015 Forums For Refugee Crisis Brian Hayes Source: Leah Farrell

Some of the statistics cited by Hayes are a little hard to nail down (the Mercer survey is two years old). For example, in the UK many national holidays are specific to (or exclude) an individual country, while other countries in the EU don’t make up for a lost holiday (as we do in Ireland) should a national day off occur on a weekend (Easter Sunday being the exception in Ireland, an official holiday that doesn’t coincide with a working day).

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

Quite how employers would react to the idea of further holidays is harder to tell (each public holiday in the UK is estimated to cost €3.2 billion in revenue).

Still, we can always dream.

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