Introduction of September bank holiday ‘under review’ – Taoiseach

Suggestion being considered to help hospitality sector and show appreciation for frontline workers

People enjoying the May bank holiday as Covid restrictions were lifted in Belfast: ‘We will look at a variety of mechanisms that we could deploy to assist the hospitality sector,’ Martin said. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/ Getty

People enjoying the May bank holiday as Covid restrictions were lifted in Belfast: ‘We will look at a variety of mechanisms that we could deploy to assist the hospitality sector,’ Martin said. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/ Getty

 

The Government will “keep under review” the possibility of introducing a new bank holiday in September, according to the Taoiseach.

Micheál Martin said it was one of a number of suggestions under consideration to help the hospitality sector and show appreciation for the role played by frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Martin said in the Dáil that the Government has looked at a “variety of mechanisms” to “reflect the State’s appreciation of not only frontline healthcare workers, but all frontline workers who have enabled people to get through so far what has been a very difficult journey through the pandemic itself”.

He acknowledged the “enormous suffering” of the hospitality sector and said a new bank holiday is one of a number of suggestions that will be considered to assist the industry.

Mr Martin was responding to Fine Gael Kerry TD Brendan Griffin, who called for consideration to be given to creating a new bank holiday at the end of September as a boost for the tourism and hospitality sector.

Mr Griffin hoped the momentum around the vaccine rollout programme and the easing of some restrictions would lead to further reopening of the hospitality sector.

He said: “Once children go back to school next September, we will see a major fall-off in the domestic market [and] a bank holiday at the end of September would be very helpful.”

Mr Griffin quipped that “in Kerry, of course, we have traditionally had a bank holiday at the end of September most years, when we would win the All Ireland , but we have not had one for a few years.

‘Boost to the industry’

“This year such a bank holiday would be very welcome and would be a big boost to the industry.”

The Taoiseach acknowledged that “the hospitality sector, in particular, has suffered enormously as a result of the virus and the pandemic.

“We will look at a variety of mechanisms that we could deploy to assist the hospitality sector and the deputy has suggested one. There will be others and we will keep the matter under review.”

Referring to Kerry’s All Ireland victories, Mr Martin said that when Mr Griffin mentioned the end of September “something came to mind in terms of Kerry people sometimes, although not at all times.

“I’d better not say anything as I am Taoiseach.”

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