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May Day

Posted on May 05, 2008

Deputy Ruairi Quinn

Since 1994 the first Monday in May has been a public holiday in honour of Irish working people. Deputy Ruairi Quinn, the then Minister for Employment, signed the Order marking May Day a public holiday on April 2, 1993.

The first of May has traditionally been a day of celebration with its origins lying in the spring fertility rites of India and Egypt and later introduced into Europe.

In 1884 trade unions in the USA passed a resolution stating that eight hours would be a legal days work with effect from May 1st 1886. The movement for May Day spread across the industrialised work. Today May Day is celebrated as a workers' holiday throughout Europe and beyond.

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