Independent Johnny Healy-Rae, however, yesterday said he will continue to lobby the Government to switch the national feast day to the nearest Sunday, as the proposal would give a “huge boost” to tourism. St Patrick’s Day is on Tuesday this year.
He presented a motion at a meeting of the South and West Kerry Municipal Authority, which was seconded by Sinn Féin councillor Damian Quigg.
All the other councillors voted against and the proposal was defeated.
“No matter, I’m still going to pursue this and, after the meeting, I sent a letter to the Minister for Justice asking her to seriously consider my request,” Mr Healy-Rae told the Irish Examiner.
Having St Patrick’s Day on a Sunday, he said, would mean the following day would be a bank holiday.
“I was disappointed and surprised at the reaction of other councillors because most people are very positive about my proposal. It would give a big lift to pubs, restaurants, hotels, and bed and breakfasts at a quiet time of the year.
“I got the idea from some restaurant owners in Kenmare, who felt that having St Patrick’s Day on a midweek day was not of much use to anyone, as well as from people working away from home who’d like to be home for St Patrick’s Day.
“For example, somebody coming home for the previous weekend this year would have to go back to work or college on the Monday and back home again that night, or the following morning, if they wanted to be at home for St Patrick’s Day. That really wouldn’t make sense.
“A precedent has already been set in some American and European cities which stage St Patrick’s Day celebrations on the weekend, or Sunday, nearest to March 17.”
Meanwhile, Mr Healy-Rae said he intends to put a proposal before a full meeting of Kerry County Council to pursue the matter with the justice minister.