Minister of State and TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, has restated his commitment to secure an additional public holiday for St Brigid’s Day.
Minister Heydon said: “I agree with comments from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar today that having a public holiday this February would be too soon as it is likely we will still be working to overcome the latest wave of COVID-19.
“The Tánaiste raised the possibility of having a once-off public holiday in 2022 to mark the pandemic, possibly on March 18th. It is hoped that we will then have an additional permanent public holiday from 2023 onwards.
“I have long campaigned for a permanent public holiday to coincide with the Monday closest to 1 February. I firmly believe that Government should commit to this from 2023.
“February is one of only four months which does not currently have a bank holiday. A public holiday at the start of spring would bridge the considerable length of time between existing public holidays in December and March and would bring a welcome boost to the tourism sector during what is traditionally a quiet time.
“The beginning of spring makes sense, as does having a public holiday in honour of a strong Irish woman who embodies all of the attributes of a Celtic Goddess to a Christian Saint.
“Brigid of Kildare is considered a patron saint of Ireland and the goddess Brigid a powerful deity and the patroness of healing, arts, fertility, poetry and music, prophecy and agriculture. Her feast day on 1 February marks Imbloc, the traditional Gaelic festival that celebrates the start of spring.
“Plans are already in train to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of St Brigid’s death in 2024, an occasion that will create the opportunity to learn more about and celebrate the story of Brigid.
“The addition of a permanent public holiday ahead of this historic occasion would help generate immense cultural and economic benefits.
“As we continue to navigate this ongoing pandemic we should look forward with hope to the dawn of a new public holiday in the spring of 2023,” Minister Heydon concluded.