Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.44 10 May 2021


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A tourism lobby group is joining calls for a "one-off" bank holiday to be introduced in September to help the sector recover.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation has said the lack of international tourists caused by COVID-19 is costing the industry €27 million a day.

The group - which represents the likes of Aer Lingus, DAA and the Irish Hotels Federation - now wants the domestic tourism season "stretched" this year.

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Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC, said: “With only nine bank holidays, Ireland compares unfavourably to the rest of Europe.

"Considering the impact of the pandemic, now is the year for Ireland to create a bank holiday on the last Monday in September”.

The hospitality sector remains closed due to ongoing restrictions.

Hotels and B&Bs are due to be allowed reopen from June 2nd, with outdoor dining in pubs and restaurants to follow after the June bank holiday weekend.

The impact of months of months of tough restrictions has prompted a number of calls for an extra bank holiday for 2021.

Fianna Fáil councillor Pat McMahon in January suggested it should be at "the tail end of the year", as the vast majority of Ireland's bank holidays occur between January and August.

Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin raised the prospect of a September bank holiday in the Dáil last week.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the idea will be considered, noting: "We will look at a variety of mechanisms that we could deploy to assist the hospitality sector."

Similar proposals were put forward last year, but the idea ultimately wasn't implemented.

Main image: Pictured people outdoor dining on a Dublin street last September due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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