The Welsh Council defies Westminster, votes for workers to get an additional day off to commemorate St David’s Day, despite concerns about cost to taxpayers

  • Gwynedd Council voted for St David’s Day to be celebrated with a bank holiday
  • This is after Westminster rejected proposals regarding business disruption
  • Furious councillors describe refusal as “really offensive, insulting” 
  • Council’s workforce to have day off despite fears it could cost up to £200,000 

The Welsh Council has overcome Westminster to vote to allow its employees an additional day off on St David’s Day, despite concerns about the cost to taxpayers.

While Scotland and Northern Ireland have bank holidays to honor their patron saints, they don’t celebrate March 1. In Wales, however, you can toast it with annual parades or concerts.

But, Gwynedd’s council cabinet voted on Tuesday to celebrate St David’s Day and offer a bank holiday for its 5,00-strong workforce.

It comes despite fears it will cost £200,000 to employ part-time staff to keep the council running for the day off.   

Cabinet members of the council were furious when the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Westminster, responsible for bank holiday in England and Wales, rejected proposals on grounds that it could disrupt business.

The Guardian reports that Councillors were furious at the Government’s treatment of Welsh citizens and began to approach London “like Oliver Twist” for concessions.

They claimed that it was unfair for the Queen to be honored with an extra bank holiday. Wales, however, cannot have a day off in honour of its patron saint.

People carry flags and wear t-shirts emblazoned with the national flag as they take part during a St David's Day Parade in Cardiff.

As they participate in the St David’s Day Parade at Cardiff, people wear flags as well as t-shirts that feature the national flag. 

A man dressed as Dewi Sant leads a St David's day parade in Cardiff, where hundreds of people march through the city in celebration of the patron saint of Wales

A man dressed as Dewi Sant leads a St David’s day parade in Cardiff, where hundreds of people march through the city in celebration of the patron saint of Wales

Despite annual parades and concerts, there is no special day off to toast March 1 in Wales

 Despite annual parades and concerts, there is no special day off to toast March 1 in Wales

Saint David was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw but is now the adored patron saint of Wales

Saint David, a Welsh bishop of Mynyw was now revered as the patron saint of Wales

Gwynedd Councillor Dafydd Meurig (pictured) said Westminster sees Wales as 'the last colony of its empire'

Gwynedd Councillor Nia Jeffreys (pictured) says it is 'embarrassing' that there will be a bank holiday for the Queen's jubilee while Wales cannot mark St David's Day

Gwynedd Councillor Dafydd Meurig (right) and Nia Jeffreys (left) have voiced their support for Wales marking St David’s Day with a bank holiday

Gwynedd Council in North Wales are going to be having a meeting about the day off plans

Gwynedd Council North Wales is going to hold a meeting on the day-off plans

Dyfrig Siencyn is the council leader. He said that Westminster views Wales as “the last colony in its empire”.

He added: ‘It’s really offensive and insulting; our masters in London are treating us as little children who cannot make decisions themselves.

;I think it’s another example of how this government is treating us here in Wales. We should not expect this government to treat us like the last colony of the empire.

Herr Siencyn stated that he hopes other councils will follow his lead.

Nia Jeffreys, another Gwynedd councillor, added: ‘The principle behind it is the importance of St David’s Day for us as a nation, how close it is to our hearts. 

‘It’s embarrassing that they can give an extra day off willy nilly for the Queen’s jubilee but we can’t decide for ourselves what day we have off.”

Teachers won’t benefit as long as the conditions of their employment are centrally agreed to. 

Staff such as social workers, refuse collectors and librarians, though, will received paid holiday – costing the council around £200,000.

Dilwyn Morgan, a third councillor said Wales must decide what to do with St David’s Day. The days of going through ‘foreign governments like Oliver Twist’ should end. 

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: ‘We’ve repeatedly asked the UK government for the Senedd to have the powers to make St David’s Day a bank holiday, and it’s disappointing to see these requests continue to be refused.’

David the Waterdrinker is a hill-raiser who also serves as a patron saint for doves 

Apart from being the patron saint for Wales, St David also serves as the patron saint to doves. He is called Dewi Sant in Welsh.

Born in Caerfai in Pembrokeshire around 500 AD, he was recognised as the Welsh patron saint during the country’s resistance to the Normans. St David made many pilgrimages to Jerusalem after his studies and was elected archbishop.

After that, he went on to preach Christianity and to minimize belief in Pelegrian heresy. This was the idea of sin not altering human nature or requiring divine intervention to determine between good and harm.

Twelve monasteries were founded by St David where the monks abstained entirely from pleasure. 

He’s well-known for his miracles, the most well-known being when he raised the ground below him so it formed a hill that allowed the Synod of Brefi congregation to hear his sermon.

 Legend also reveals that St David could be the nephew of King Arthur but in other tales, his mother was the niece of the King. Patron saint of Ireland and St Patrick are said to have predicted the birth of St David.