Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mayday Public Holiday.

5.

asked the Minister for Labour the consultations that he has had or intends to have with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions regarding the possibility of making Mayday, 1 May, a public holiday; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I have recently had discussions with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions about the possibility of making 1 May a public holiday. Any decision in the matter will be taken in the context of the review of the whole body of social legislation — including the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 — which is at present in progress.

The Minister will be aware that more or less the same answer has been given for the last number of years in relation to this question. Could he indicate at what stage the review of social legislation has reached and his own and the Government's view in relation to establishing Mayday as a public holiday?

The present position is that workers in this country have fewer public holidays than their counterparts in the rest of the EEC. I personally regard that as anomalous. My view is that they should be brought in line in the spirit of the EEC in terms of harmonisation. The precise method and manner in which that would be done would be decided in consultation with the ICTU and the other social partners. I am pursuing those discussions actively and hope to bring them to an early conclusion.