After a challenging 2020, Taoiseach Micheál Martin says that the Government are considering introducing a new bank holiday next year. According to reports, the idea has been mooted throughout the year as a means of recognising the sacrifices of the Irish people this year and boosting the tourism industry.
December 21st had originally been pencilled in. However, despite speculation in October that it would be announced, the issue was not raised at Cabinet. The government were accused of “bottling” the decision by Labour Party leader Alan Kelly. Micheál Martin rejected that notion at the time, saying the issue had never been raised.
“There was no bank holiday date in my mind yesterday,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. There was a lot more in my mind than the awarding of the bank holiday, I can tell you that.”
However, speaking at a pre-Christmas briefing with journalists, Mr Martin said that the idea will be considered. Martin said it was one of many ideas which could be looked at in order to recognise the work of people this year.
The Tourism Recovery Taskforce created a Recovery Plan which said an additional bank holiday in the off-peak season should be considered. It will be a welcomed boost, with warnings of restrictions being with us for another six months.
There had been reports earlier in the year that an extra Bank Holiday could be considered for 2020. However, a senior government source indicated that this would more likely be next year, after the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have eased.
When asked about whether another bank holiday is on the cards for Ireland, Martin told reporters that they will “consider it.”
“I think that is one potential, yes, that we could do in terms of reflecting and acknowledging the work of many workers in different fields and in different sectors…
“We’ll consider it.”
Ireland does not have as many bank holidays as countries like Austria, Sweden and other European countries. Austria, Sweden, Poland, and Portugal each have 13, whereas Hungary, the Netherlands, and the UK only have eight.
Earlier in the year, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris told reporters that an extra bank holiday would be a good idea. Harris said there would be “some benefit in having a day to recognise all that people have been through and sacrificed”.