Deputy leader Leo Varadar has said that the Irish government is working on a proposal for a double bank holiday for St. Patricks' Day 2022 along with plans for a new permanent bank holiday for St. Brigid's Day, Feb 1, from 2023.
A new bank holiday was proposed in 2021 to have a national Irish day of remembrance and reflection to recall both those who died during the pandemic and the efforts made by those who worked through it.
On Tuesday, Tanaiste (Irish deputy leader) Leo Varadkar, speaking to RTE news said "No formal decision made yet but what we’re working on is a proposal to have a double bank holiday for St. Patrick’s Day so that would be the 17th and 18th of March. Then a new permanent bank holiday for St. Brigid’s Day, which would come into effect in 2023 but we just haven’t pushed the button on that yet.
“We’re still fighting this pandemic it’s not over yet and the purpose of the day would be to remember those who have been lost and to recognize all of the people who have done phenomenal work during this period.
He added: “It just seems that it’s too early to make a decision on that given that this is not yet over.”
Last year, Tanaiste Varadar, while being interviewed by Claire Byrne, had suggested that the St. Brigid's Bank Holiday could be in place by 2022. However, this was before the outbreak of the Omicron variant.
Last autumn, the group Herstory launched a petition calling for St. Brigid's Day to be made a bank holiday. Their petition garnered over 15k signatures.
They stated, "In light of the many astounding achievements of women in Irish society and in our nation’s history, and given the astounding challenges the Irish people are facing in these times, we believe it is time to honor Brigid, Ireland's triple goddess and matron Saint, by making February 1st a national holiday."
It seems they're well on their way to having the female patron saint of Ireland and pagan goddess have her own bank holiday as of next year.
Ireland currently has nine bank holidays a year, one of the lowest numbers in Europe. In comparison Austria, Sweden and Poland have 13.