With the news that Cornwalls five Liberal Democrat MPs have now called for a bank holiday on the 5th of March to celibrate St Pirans day here is the latest campaign news from the Celtic League.
With the approach of Dydh sen Pyran /St Piran's Day next week (5th March) the campaign to persuade Cornwall's councils to adopt the day as an annual holiday for their staff has drawn to a close for another year. At least three more town councils (TC) voted to give their staff a Dy' goel sen Pyran/St Piran's Day Holiday, which makes the total number of Cornish councils to do so rise to six.
This year the Celtic League has been more successful in encouraging Cornwall's councils to debate the issue and have seen an increase in the number of Councils willing to make the 5th March an annual holiday for their staff than at any other time. This list still remains short, but importantly it is growing.
What is a bit worrying however, is that some of the letters sent by the League to TC's on the matter, did not even get passed the Town Clerk. Sally Vincent, the Town Clerk of Fowey TC for example responded by saying "Do you want to pay me for a day off!!!???" and in another case the issue was only raised with Newquay TC after the Town Clerk went on sick leave and her Deputy received a further letter from the League and got in touch. (How many other requests have been dismissed by Cornish town clerks in the same way?)
Even though the League asked each council to provide feedback, only a handful of councils did so. We are still therefore unsure how many councils did actually discuss the matter and if they did, what was decided. In two instances, the League only learned through a third party that Hayle TC and St Columb TC had debated the issue and had decided in favour of a Dy' goel sen Pyran/St Piran's Day Holiday for their staff members. Only one district council (North Cornwall) informed the League that they had debated the issue, but feedback was also received from Kerrier District Council to say that they had received a letter and the issue would be debated. Cornwall County Council also acknowledged receipt of the original letter from the League, but it is not known if the issue was debated at a full council meeting. The League will now follow up all the councils again, over the coming year, to ask if the matter has been discussed.
What is clear from the feedback that has been received is that councillors were concerned about the cost implications of making 5th March a holiday for their staff and if they made St Piran's Day a holiday, whether this would commit them to making St George's Day (of England) a holiday on April 23rd as well! Another interesting came from a Hayle town councillor, who commented that:
"The letter from the Celtic League was being treated in an almost embarrassed way, and councillors were shuffling in their seats…"
A brief record below highlights some of the successes of the campaign and also some of the feedback received.
Councils that voted in favour of making Dydh sen Pyran /Saint Piran's Day an annual holiday for their staff in 2009:
Hayle Town Council
St Blaise Town Council
St Columb Town Council
Councils where the matter was debated and feedback given to the League:
North Cornwall District Council: "on an already stretched budget, the cost implications of closing the office for the day would be of considerable cost to the "
Falmouth: "The Council supports the principle of the proposal to make 5th March, St Piran Day, a Cornish national holiday. For the sake of equality the Council has indicated that it would wish for the holiday to be comprehensively applied throughout Cornwall before being introduced for Falmouth Town Council staff. I wish the League luck with this campaign and please keep me informed of progress."
Liskeard: "One of the comments made is that if St Piran's Day is made a holiday they would need to make St George's day also a holiday. Obviously a lot of the members are not Cornish. Another concern would be the cost implementation."
Lostwithiel: "This was discussed at our recent meeting but the decision was unanimous not to comply with your request for St. Piran day to be a holiday for staff. There was quite a lengthy debate on this but what really prompted the negative response was that March is a busy time of year in the office and even if the Council declared it a public holiday my workload could well mean that it would not be practical to take the day off. If that were to be the case and I worked that day it would be overtime with the associated additional cost to the Council."
Saltash : "I understand from what was said just before the meeting, there is no holiday for St George's Day and therefore this is a similar type of day.":
Newquay Town Council reported that the matter will be discussed at their full council meeting on 4th March.
(Report prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)
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