– Public holidays should coincide with themed events to boost regional tourism
“The tradition of dubbing Ireland’s National public holidays ‘Bank Holidays’ is nonsensical and should end,” Sean Kelly MEP said ahead of this May holiday weekend.
“The term ‘Bank Holiday’ dates back to a legislative act in the late 1800s which designated four additional closure dates for businesses and banks in Ireland and the UK. It may have been necessary at that time but no longer applies in the same way. Given recent negative connotations associated with the banking crisis and the obscene bonus culture which the banking sector cultivated – the time is right for a change in this area. Ireland’s public holidays should be called just that,” the Ireland South MEP said.
Mr Kelly says Ireland could also take the initiative of associating some of these long weekends with themed festivals or celebratory days. “Perhaps the June public holiday, the 6th of June next, could become an official celebration of Ireland’s sporting life – just as St Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture and heritage. County’s could be encouraged and supported in celebrating our love of sport over that weekend with special local tournaments, games, and community based activities to suit the whole family.
“Another example would be to associate the August Holiday weekend with marine tourism. Coastal towns could maximise their visitor figures by holding specialised events highlighting our beautiful coastline. Inland counties renowned for fishing could hold angling competitions. It would also be opportunities to roll out water safety programmes in order to prevent further tragedies that often unfortunately befall communities during summer months,” Mr Kelly continued.
The Fine Gael MEP also notes that many regional towns have already realised the potential of festivals and are hosting very successful regular events. “We must look at every opportunity we have to boost local economies across Ireland as we continue on our path to recovery,” Mr Kelly concluded.