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Government is to consider plans for a new bank holiday to aid beleaguered tourism sector

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A man walks his dog in Temple Bar during lockdown, with pubs and restaurants hit badly by restrictions

A man walks his dog in Temple Bar during lockdown, with pubs and restaurants hit badly by restrictions

A man walks his dog in Temple Bar during lockdown, with pubs and restaurants hit badly by restrictions

The Government is considering plans to introduce an extra bank holiday to reflect the enormous effort of the population this year.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there was “potential” for Ireland to get an additional bank holiday next year.

The idea was first floated by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris. Mr Harris said he was open to the idea, as most of the bank holiday weekends were affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

The proposal was mooted as a way to address the huge challenges facing the tourism and hospitality industry.

Asked if the Government will consider introducing an additional bank holiday, Mr Martin said: “I think that is one potential, yes, that we could do in terms of reflecting and acknowledging the work of many workers in different fields and in different sectors.

“We’ll consider it.”

The Taoiseach did not reveal any further details about the proposal, or what month the Government would consider introducing the extra holiday.

Mr Harris said it could be a way of marking the sacrifices people have made since the outbreak of coronavirus.

He previously told TheJournal.ie: “Yeah, I think when the country gets through this and it’s safe to begin to do some normal things again, I think there would be some benefit in having a day to recognise all that people have been through and sacrificed, that people might be able to enjoy with their family and friends.”

Coronavirus restrictions forced thousands of holidaymakers to cancel trips abroad, with many families staying in Ireland.

The country’s tourism bodies encouraged people to take a staycation, as overseas travel came to a standstill. Tourism Ireland is expected to launch a huge marketing campaign to promote the country to foreign visitors again.

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