Extra bank holiday to recognise the heroes and victims of pandemic

Extra bank holiday to recognise the heroes and victims of pandemic

Government plans for an extra bank holiday are at an advanced stage.

Government plans for an extra bank holiday are at an advanced stage.

The extra bank holiday will recognise the work of frontline workers and will also remember those who died during the pandemic.

While the extra bank holiday could come by November, government sources have said no date has been agreed and that it could be extended out to the spring of next year.

An official announcement on the date of the new bank holiday is expected to be made next month. 

"It will be announced sometime in October but whether it will happen on Budget day or shortly after has yet to be decided," a senior government source said.

With the Budget three weeks away, the Green Party is demanding a significant childcare package and supports to help people cover rising energy costs.

Eamon Ryan's party is looking to secure at least €3.50 more on the fuel allowance.

Noting the €5 per week increase in the living-alone allowance and a €2 to €5 jump in the qualified child payment awarded as part of last year's Budget, a senior source said: "The specifics are to be worked out but [we are] looking for something similar but with even more ambition."

Asked about potential Budget supports to help with the cost of heat and light, Mr Ryan said rising energy costs are an international phenomenon but that the Government "has to protect people against that".

"The first thing in the Budget we will be looking to see how can we protect people from fuel poverty as a result of that international phenomenon," he said.

It is understood that Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman will also be prioritising increased funding to help parents with the cost of childcare after payments under the National Childcare Scheme and the Early Childhood Care and Education  remained the same last year.

The National Women’s Council has called on the Government to invest in public, not-for-profit childcare model.

Director of the council Orla O’Connor said there is an urgent need to invest in childcare, better-paid family leave, a universal pension for all and an increase in social welfare payments.

“Childcare is vital for a functioning labour market and women’s equal participation in public life. Budget 2022 is our opportunity to significantly increase investment in a public, not-for-profit childcare model, rising to the OECD recommendation of investment of 1% of GDP over time.

"International evidence shows very clearly that a public childcare model is the best way to ensure access to affordable, quality childcare for families and decent pay and working conditions for childcare workers," said Ms O'Connor.

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