"Gwynedd will lead the way nationally this year, by ensuring staff celebrate our national patron saint's day, St David's Day with an extra day’s public holiday," said Deputy Plaid Cymru Gwynedd Leader, Dafydd Meurig pictured.
Contrary to a decision by Westminster Government to refuse to devolve the power to Wales to decide on its own national bank holidays, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet has today decided to authorise an additional bank holiday to staff to mark the national importance and status of St David's Day.
“This is an important message,” explains Councillor Nia Jeffreys (pictured) who leads on the Council's corporate affairs.
“It is a national disgrace that, in Wales, we cannot choose and identify our own significant events, be they culturally, linguistically or of importance to our heritage. Westminster refuses to devolve the power to the Welsh Government to decide on this fundamental right.
"We are seeking the same powers as Scotland and Northern Ireland to choose our own bank holidays and give proper status to our nationally significant events."
At the full council meeting in October 2021, all Gwynedd Councillors unanimously voted for the Cabinet to officially designate St David's Day a holiday for the workforce on the first of March. It was a cross-party decision, with all the council’s political groups voting in favour of the proposal.
Llandderfel Councillor, Elwyn Edwards (pictured), who brought the proposal before full council, said: "I am delighted that this proposal has been passed today and that the majority of Gwynedd Council staff will receive a holiday on the day of our national patronage. It gives a clear message that we are serious, here in Gwynedd, to challenge the British rule of disregarding our own identity and heritage within Wales.
“In a year where extra bank holidays are thrown at us and discussions about street tea parties in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of the English Monarchy, it shows that here in Gwynedd we are serious about leading our own identity nationally.”
Plaid Cymru Gwynedd Deputy Leader, Cllr Dafydd Meurig said: "As the largest employer in the county, offering a day's holiday to the majority of our staff on St David's Day is a sign of our appreciation for their work during what has been a challenging time. Unfortunately, due to the national terms and conditions of teachers contracts which it outside our remit, we are unable to include them in the process this year.
"By introducing this additional bank holiday this year, we hope that other councils and public organisations can follow suit and more pressure can be placed on the Tory Government at Westminster to devolve the power to Wales to decide its own public holidays and extend the extra day to the whole workforce as well as the private sector. That would be the ideal, to ensure that all workers from all sectors have a national holiday to celebrate St David's Day on the first of March. If Ireland’s St Patrick’s public holiday is anything to go by, the potential is there for Wales to benefit economically.”