AN EXTRA bank holiday has been proposed in order to aid Ireland's struggling hospitality industry.
Former Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin has called upon the Government to be proactive and help out an industry which has suffered so much over the course of the pandemic.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, the Kerry TD said he thought the additional bank holiday would work well in September, because by then most public health restrictions will likely have been lifted.
In response to Mr Griffin's proposal, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the matter would be kept "under review"
Ireland currently has three more bank holidays this year; June 7, August 2 and October 25, but an extra one in September could do wonders for pubs and restaurants across the country.
The hospitality sector has been all but closed since March 2020, and after losing both the summer and Christmas periods, which are traditionally the busiest, pubs and restaurants around the country are in dire need of support.
Lockdown restrictions look set to stay in place until mid-summer at the very least, so it's unlikely the sector will enjoy anything close to pre-pandemic levels of business, particularly given that international tourism is a no-go.
While outdoor dining in pubs will be available from June 7 (in time for the next bank holiday), the sector won't be able to open fully to take advantage of the extra business.
Last year, an extra bank holiday was proposed for December, but the Taoiseach eventually rejected it.
While the UK variant was just emerging in Ireland, and infection rates were expected to rise around Christmas as families gathered for the first time in months, some understood and accepted Martin's decision, but others accused him of 'bottling' it and of failing the industry as a whole.
A few weeks later, Martin was asked if would consider another bank holiday proposal in the future, and he said "yes".