Disappointment at lack of progress on making St Patrick’s Day public holiday

Strangford Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made on making St Patrick’s Day a public holiday. Mr McCarthy, who proposed a successful motion on the issue at the Assembly recently, had received a letter from former Secretary of State Shaun Woodward dated 30 April 2010 stating that he was unable to take the matter forward. Kieran McCarthy is now planning to arrange a meeting with new Secretary of State Owen Paterson on the matter.

Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “I was very disappointed that the former Secretary of State Shaun Woodward had not been able to move this issue forward. Making St Patrick’s Day a public holiday would greatly boost tourism and maximise the potential of this important day.

“Think of the number of tourists we could attract and how much this would be worth to our economy if everyone in Northern Ireland could get involved in planning and taking part in events on the day.

“St Patrick’s Day is for all, and making it a public holiday would ensure more people can get involved because some schools and workplaces currently do not give people a day off for it. The day is part of our shared identity and recognising it formally as a public holiday is all part of helping to create a shared society.

“I was frustrated at the response from Shaun Woodward as I had hoped that more progress could be made. I do, however, intend to take this up with the new Secretary of State and I am planning to arrange a meeting with Owen Paterson to see if he can assist us in our campaign.”


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