October 13, 2021
Disappointment at failure by government to deliver new bank holiday – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has expressed disappointment at the failure by government to live up to their hype and deliver the long-awaited additional yearly bank holiday.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh brought forward a Bill in 2016 for April 24th to be declared a public holiday, marking the anniversary of the Easter Rising. 

Lá na Poblachta, or Republic Day, would serve as a national holiday ‘in acknowledgement of the sacrifices of the men, women and children who kept this nation alive for many centuries, those who fought to establish the Republic and the need to implement the republican ideals set out in the Proclamation’.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voted against the Bill at the time, but Fine Gael has been touting plans for an additional bank holiday since February this year, and many expected delivery in yesterday’s Budget.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that the government has managed to u-turn yet again on the subject of providing an additional yearly bank holiday, after all the fuss they made about it before Budget 2022. 

“Given their strong opposition to my Bill in 2016, I would have been pleasantly surprised if they followed through now.

“While the suggestion of co-opting Thanksgiving from the United States as a new national holiday was rightly ridiculed when we have so many important days in our own nation’s story worth marking, the idea of an additional yearly bank holiday, or more than one, is not only strongly supported by Sinn Féin, but has been advocated by the current President of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland, former Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes.

“He made the point that workers in Finland, Malta and Spain all have a full week more public holidays than workers here. Our workers currently lose out.

“That is why Sinn Féin included a specific commitment to an additional bank holiday in our Alternative Budget.

“I hope to reintroduce my Bill to make Lá na Poblachta a bank holiday in the coming weeks, and hope government puts its money where its mouth is. But this was always meant to be more than simply a day off – it would also involve nationwide events encouraging reflection on what citizenship and equality mean in the context of the Republic promised in 1916.

“I also welcome that there is growing talk of making Lá Fhéile Bríde a bank holiday on 1st February, in recognition of the role of Bríd as a Gaelic legend and champion of equality.

“I see no reason why both days could not be used as opportunities for national reflection, with both serving to mark the incredible and under-represented contribution of women to our nation’s story and struggle.”

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