Green Party proposes making St Brigid's Day a public holiday

It comes as Sinn Féin tables a bill for an annual 'Lá na Poblachta' in April

Green Party proposes making St Brigid's Day a public holiday

Eamon Ryan. Image:

The Green Party has proposed making Lá Fhéile Bríde - or St Brigid's Day - a public holiday.

The feast day of St Brigid - one of Ireland's patron saints - is celebrated on February 1st.

The suggestion came ahead of a Dáil debate on Sinn Féin's proposal to make April 24th an annual holiday in commemoration of "the Irish men and women who fought to establish an independent Irish Republic".

Speaking about his party's proposal, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “Ireland has the third fewest public holidays in Europe, and fourth fewest public holidays in the world. Practically speaking, the Sinn Féin motion introduces another public holiday at a time of year when we have two bank holidays, while the longest period without a bank holiday remains from St Stephen’s Day, 26th of December, to St Patrick’s Day, 17th of March.

“The start of February is filled with significance, marking the first day of Spring and the Celtic festival of Imbolc. Lá Fhéile Bríde is a positive, potent celebration of new beginnings, the turning of the seasons and the cyclical nature of our life on Earth," he argued.

He also suggested that "we have four public holidays dedicated to men - St Stephen’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Easter Monday and Christmas Day. Across the globe, 17 countries celebrate a Women’s Day - yet Ireland still hasn’t given due respect to its oldest patron, Brighid.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh has explained why he is tabling a bill calling for April 24th to be designated 'Lá na Poblachta'.

“I believe that the public’s enthusiasm, at home and abroad, for the various 1916 commemorations in the past year supports my belief that it is entirely appropriate to designate a day annually as ‘Lá na Poblachta’," Deputy Ó Snodaigh suggested.

"A programme of events would also be held in each county of Ireland annually in appreciation of the many people who gave their lives and liberty in the pursuit of Irish independence," he added.