Labour calls for two additional public holidays

17 May 2006

Statement by Ruairi Quinn TD

Labour's Enterprise Spokesperson, Ruairi Quinn TD, has called for two additional public holidays to be added to the calendar. Deputy Quinn made his comments in the Dáil while speaking to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment.

He said: "Ireland lags well behind the rest of the European Union in terms of Public Holidays".

"With just 9 statutory days off per annum, only England and the Netherlands have fewer. The average in the EU-15 is 11 and even our cousins north of the border do better than the rest of us. I am calling on the Government to introduce two additional public holidays.

"Hard working families know that modern life makes it more difficult for them to spend time together and for workers and their families to enjoy the fruits of their labour and the country's economic success.

"In the run up to the 2002 General Election Labour proposed that two additional public holidays be added in order to bring us up to the EU average. We are now repeating that call.

"Ministers Martin & Killeen appear to want to leave the decision to IBEC, but it should be decided at a political level. I was the last Minister to legislate for a new public holiday – May Day, introduced in 1993 – and it now looks like Labour will need to be back in Government for the next.

"This is a basic matter of bringing Ireland up to the international norm. Today, we stand no better on public holidays in comparison with our neighbours than we do on the broadband league tables."

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