For a number of years there has been a discussion about creating a Republic Day to celebrate our independence as a sovereign nation. We do celebrate St Patrick’s Day but that is a celebration of our tribe not our nation. But if we create a Republic Day as an extra Bank or Public Holiday when should be celebrate it?
The creation of an extra bank holiday has its own issues. There is a cost to the employer with Bank Holiday rates. There is a cost to the Government as productivity is reduced and costs rise. There is a threat to the economy as it recovers from years of austerity. A Bank Holiday to celebrate our nationhood should benefit all our citizens’ not just Civil Servants with an extra paid day’s leave or public service workers with increased bonus payments. Children get a day off school and college but parents who work may have to pay for extra childcare. Hospitality workers work extra hours including extended opening hours in the bar industry on the Sunday eve of a bank holiday. Old age pensioners who have worked all their lives receive no benefit from a bank holiday and feel less inclusive. A Republic Day should be a day off for everyone and the State should provide the financial bonus to all our citizens young and old. Emergency services and armed Forces personnel should be paid an extra bonus or be provided time in lieu.
So perhaps to the most important question. When? There are a number of dates.
April 24th – The day that the Easter Rising begun. This will often create an extra Bank Holiday in the month of April as Easter falls primarily in April. The next question is should it always be April 24th even if that falls on a Saturday. Traditionally Bank Holidays are on a Monday or maybe we could choose
April 18th – The date in 1949 when the
force and the nation of whom we wish to celebrate The Republic of Ireland came
in being Republic
of Ireland Act
December 6th – The date in 1922 when the Irish Free State became a legal entity and we achieved our independence from
January 21st – When the first Dail met in 1919, the lineage of today’s Irish parliament t and they declared independence.
August 22nd – In 1798 and a
Republic of Ireland is declared by the invading French forces in Connacht and John Moore named as the Republics first
July 23rd – The declaration of a republic as Robert Emmet’s rebellion is launched on this date was the first declaration of an
Republic although that referred to a
32 county Ireland
not the presently constituted 26 counties.
Ireland to get an extra seven bank/public holidays? I wish but if no decision can be made, make them all Bank Holidays and we can have an extra week of holidays in the year.
Perhaps as a neutral alternative we could have a President's Day when we can celebrate the role of our President of the Republic of Ireland.