New one-off St. Patrick's Day holiday and recurring Imbolc/St. Brigid's Day break declared

A new once-off public holiday on the day after St. Patrick's Day has been declared in the 26-counties while there will be a new recurring St. Brigid’s Day public holiday from next year.

By Kevin Mullan
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:36 pm
St. Brigid's Cross.

The Dublin government has agreed to the St. Patrick's Day holiday in recognition of the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has also agreed to give a recognition payment of €1,000 (tax free), for eligible frontline health and ambulance workers. An equivalent payment will be provided for relevant staff in private sector nursing homes and hospices that were affected by COVID-19.

From next year there will be a new permanent public holiday established in celebration of Imbolc/St. Brigid’s Day.

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This will be the first Monday in every February, except where St. Brigid’s Day, the 1st day of February, happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday, February 1 will be a public holiday. The designation of public holidays falls to the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

Mr. Varadkar said: “A once-off public holiday, a Day of Remembrance and Recognition, will be held in memory of the more than 9,000 people who have died on the island of Ireland with COVID. This will be held on Friday, 18 March and means we will have a four-day weekend because March 17, St Patrick’s Day, is also a public holiday.

"It will also recognise, and say thank you, to the volunteers, the Irish people, and to all the workers who gave their all in the fight against COVID. We decided to make this decision now on a public holiday, rather than wait until the pandemic is over, because so many have already given so much. It also roughly marks the second anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland.

“Frontline healthcare workers will also receive a special, once-off tax-free payment of €1,000 in recognition of their work in dangerous and challenging conditions during the pandemic, and for the thousands of lives saved as a result of their efforts.

St. Patrick's Day parade.

“From next year, Ireland will have an extra public holiday at the start of February to mark Imbolc/St Brigid’s day. It will be observed on the first Monday of February except where the 1st of February falls on a Friday in which case it will be observed on that day. This will be the first Irish public holiday named after a woman.

"It marks the half-way point between the winter solstice and the equinox, the beginning of spring and the Celtic New Year. The creation of a tenth public holiday will bring Ireland more into line with the European average and it is one of five new workers’ rights that I am establishing this year.

"The others are the right to statutory sick pay, the right to request remote working, new rights around redundancy for people laid off during the pandemic, and better protection of workplace tips.”