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New push for nationwide Bank Holiday to celebrate St David’s Day

01 Oct 2021 3 minute read
Children on St. David’s day. Picture: National Assembly. (CC BY 2.0)

Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter

Gwynedd’s councillors will be asked to back giving the authority’s staff a day off on March 1 and heap more pressure on both the Welsh and UK Governments to establish St David’s Day as an official Bank Holiday.

Llandderfel Plaid Cymru councillor, Elwyn Edwards, will present a motion to next week’s full council meeting urging members to ask the the cabinet to officially recognise St David’s Day by awarding an extra day’s leave to the authority’s workforce.

Celebrated on March 1, Dydd Gwyl Dewi is not an official national holiday despite strong support in Wales.

St Andrew’s Day has been a public holiday north of Hadrian’s Wall since the passing of the St. Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007, although remaining at the discretion of employers.

St Patrick’s Day is also a designated public holiday on the island of Ireland.

But Cllr Edwards’ motion will also call on the authority to write to the UK Government and back the devolution on the power to create Bank Holidays for Wales – via the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 – as is already the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As a result Wales has fewer Bank Holidays than either, on level pegging with England at seven compared to nine in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland.

But successive UK Governments have so far failed to grant Wales such powers despite the then National Assembly voting unanimously in favour of such a move in 2000.


In 2014 it was reported that First Minister Carwyn Jones had written to the Secretary of State for Wales to seek legislative competence to make Wales’ national day a bank holiday, but the move was rebuffed.

Neighbouring Anglesey Council previously awarded staff a St David’s Day holiday, designated not as an “extra day off” but taken from workers’ holiday allowance.

The practice has since come to an end, however.

Ahead of next Thursday’s full council meeting, Cllr Edwards told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We should we celebrating our country’s patron saint and our national day in the same way as Scotland and Ireland celebrate theirs.

“It is about time we followed the same path, which also offers a clear message regarding our status as a standalone country.

“Westminster should be letting the Welsh Government decide, but from the point of view of Gwynedd Council, I appreciate there will be factors in terms of costings before awarding staff the extra day off.

“But certainly we should be afforded the same rights as our Celtic cousins.”

Cllr Edwards’ proposed motion states: “That the council asks the Cabinet to consider officially recognising St David’s Day by giving a day’s leave to its workforce in order to celebrate our Patron Saint’s Day on 1 March 2022 and every year thereafter.

“And, that the Council calls on Westminster Government to devolve to Welsh Government the power to create bank holidays for Wales  in the same manner as already happens in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

It will be discussed when Gwynedd’s full council meets on Thursday, October 7.

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arthur owen
2 years ago

Great,we can all sit in the pub all day,at least that is what I used to do back in the day.

2 years ago

There is a legal difference between a Bank Holiday and a Public Holiday. Bank Holidays are among the many subjects listed on the Government of Wales Act 2006 that are reserved to Westminster, whereas Public Holidays are not listed. It is pointless calling on them to devolve it because they will simply reject it. But I don’t see anything that could stop the Senedd from establishing St Davids Day as a Public Holiday

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob
Mick Tems
Mick Tems
2 years ago

Everybody in Wales should be given the right to treat St David’s Day as a public holiday After all, Dewi Sant was the only patron saint to be born in his native country – St Andrew was a Palestinian, St Piran (Cornwall) came from Ireland, St Patrick hailed from Wales, and St George was an Armenian! No doubt, with all this appalling Brexit, the English would have booted Johnny Foreigner out!

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
2 years ago

It is about time St. David’s Day was a holiday, it is outrageous it is not already. Cymru am byth 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

2 years ago

Ia wir hen bryd Dydd Gwyl Dewi ,fe oedd Dydd Llun Diolch garwch yn ddiwrnod gwyl i fynd ir Capel I ddiolch os oeddach yn dymuno ??ond mi aeth y ddiwrnod yma ar goll ynrhywle Dydd Gwyl Dewi am dani bois i ddangos ei bod dal yma .

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 years ago

Wales will only get the right to make Saint David’ Day a Bank Holiday when England creates Saint George’s Day. No doubt whoever’s in government will cynically devolve the powers and say, “don’t say we are not pro-devolution” crap. And in 2006, Scotland created a Saint Andrew’s Day when its parliament passed the Saint Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday act of 2007. In Northern Ireland celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day as a national public holiday along with their Irish counterparts in the Republic where we denied by Whitehall similar? It’s crazy. Why can’t our Senedd Cymru pass a bill creating a national… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Y Cymro
2 years ago

Beth am Dydd gwyl Dewi, Dydd gwyl Glyndwr ganol Medi, a dydd Llywelyn yn Rhagfyr. Gellir gwaredu y dydd Seisnig Labour Day ddechre Mai a creu gwyl gweithwyr Cymru ar unryw ddyddiad sy’n taro. Sicr fod ‘na ragor o wyliau i’w datblygu i fynd gyda’r wthnos 30 awr sy’n cael ei haddo !

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