Police bosses call for St David’s Day public holiday
Two police bosses have joined forces to urge Prime Minister Theresa May to give Wales new powers to make St David’s Day a public holiday.
According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Dafydd Llywelyn, his counterpart in Dyfed-Powys, it’s only right that the people of Wales should be allowed to celebrate the national day properly.
They are urging the UK Government to give the Welsh Assembly the power to introduce this holiday.
That would enable them to follow the precedent set in Scotland in 2006 when the Scottish Parliament designated November 30, St Andrew’s Day, as a national holiday.
In Scotland though banks are not required to close and it is up to employers to decide whether to give staff the day off – if November 30 falls on a weekend the next Monday is a holiday instead.
“St David’s Day is our national day and I believe that we should introduce it as a holiday to celebrate our status as a nation,” said Arfon Jones.
“It is something I feel very strongly about – we have had a meeting about how we can emphasise the distinctive Welsh identity of our police forces and this is a step we can take.
“Celebrating St David’s Day with a public holiday would celebrate the fact that we are Welsh and that Wales is a country in its own right with its own distinctive identity and customs.
“Many countries have national holidays – in the USA it is Independence Day and in France they have Bastille Day and Victory in Europe Day while in Spain Catalans celebrate their own national day on September 11.
“Just as in Scotland it would be at the discretion of employers but it would at the very least be a recognition and a celebration of our own national identity.”
Mr Jones and Mr Llywelyn are also planning to raise the matter at the next meeting of the four Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales.
Mr Llywelyn said: “The four Commissioners and the four Chief Constables, as employers of tens of thousands of people in Wales, should lobby the Assembly for this change to be introduced.
“Arfon and I believe there is a great deal of support for the idea of creating a new official holiday to celebrate our patron saint’s day.
“It is not a great legislative issue and there is no real barrier to creating a new holiday in Wales.
“It would be a flagship day for our national pride and a mark of our maturity as a nation.”
Who was St David?
St David was born circa 542AD at Menevia, which is now called St David’s. He is traditionally believed to be the son of Saint Non and the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion.
He was the founder, abbot and bishop of the monastery and was responsible for much of the spread of Christianity in Wales.
Much of David’s life is shrouded in mystery but he was once believed to be a nephew of King Arthur on his mother’s side and stands today as a symbol of Welsh resistance against the Norman Conquest. He is also recognised as the patron saint of doves.
Miracles associated with David include the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi – where he raised a hill up from the ground so that his followers could better hear a sermon – restoring sight to the blind St. Paulinus and bringing a dead boy back to life with his tears
His teachings drew pilgrims from Ireland and from Europe. It is believed he died in 601AD.