Irish workers 'have second lowest number of public holidays in the EU'

Ireland had the second lowest number of public holidays in the EU, and the third lowest in the world, according to Fine Gael's Brian Hayes.

Irish workers 'have second lowest number of public holidays in the EU'

Ireland had the second lowest number of public holidays in the EU, and the third lowest in the world, according to Fine Gael's Brian Hayes.

The Dublin MEP pointed out that in the EU, only Hungary, Netherlands and the UK (8) have fewer public holidays than Ireland (9) and globally, only Mexico has fewer public holidays (7).

The MEP said that, as part of the on-going pay restoration talks additional public holidays should be granted to acknowledge the sacrifices made during the economic crash.

"As a recovery country with pay restoration dominating national debate it’s time to look at our public holidays," he said.

"The European average is 11 and we lie second last with 9 public holidays a year. Finland (15), Malta and Spain (14) have a full week more public holidays than Irish workers.

"Additional structured bank holidays can generate economic activity and jobs.

"The October Bank Holiday is the perfect example.

"Following its introduction by the late Michael O’Leary we saw the growth and development of the Jazz festival in Cork and the Dublin City Marathon.

"The introduction of the May bank holiday, by Ruairi Quinn in 1994, increased short breaks and signalling the start of the summer season.

"Structured public holidays, rather than increasing minimum annual leave entitlements, will create more tourism, festival activity and boost the economy.

"There has been a lot of talk about the sacrifices made during the crash. Increasing the number of public holidays would be a real way to honour that sacrifice.

"While pay is dominating the headlines, in our own lives pay and holidays are the main part of our working conditions.

"This is why I want to see additional public holidays back on the agenda as a country coming out of an economic crash."

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