Ireland will have a one-off public holiday for remembering deaths and recognizing workers during the Covid-19 pandemic before it's over. Ireland will have a new recurring holiday next year.
The government of Ireland agreed on January 19 for a once-off public holiday and a recognition payment for the healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Friday 18 March 2022 will be a once-off public holiday in recognition of "the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic", the government explains in a statement.
The day will also be held "in memory of the more than 9,000 people who have died on the island of Ireland with COVID".
A day of remembrance will follow this public holiday, which will take place over St Patrick's weekend. St Patrick's Day is on March 17 and workers in Ireland will have a four-day weekend this year.
March 2022 will roughly mark the second year the country in fighting against the Covid-19. Leo Varadkar the minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, justified the decision to have a public holiday now while the pandemic is not over because "so many have already given so much".
From 2023, Ireland will still have a new public holiday but on February 1, the first public holiday named after a woman in the country. St Brigid's Day celebrates a female Irish saint patron who is associated with fertility, protection and healing.
Fórsa, Ireland’s largest public service trade union, welcomed the announcement of an "additional and recurring public holiday to recognize workers’ contribution and sacrifice during the pandemic".
On top of a public holiday related to the pandemic, the government will send a tax-free payment of €1,000 (US$1,100) to 100,000 public sector healthcare workers in "recognition of their work in dangerous and challenging conditions during the pandemic, and for the thousands of lives saved as a result of their efforts".