Mayo county councillors have called on the Minister for Education to standardize the start of the school year to September, as they say the new practice nationally of returning to school from the 20th of August is cutting 2 weeks off the vital summer tourism season in rural Ireland.
The issue was raised at the start of yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council by Achill based Fianna Fail counciller Paul McNamara, and councillors agreed to ask the Minister for Education to standardize the return to school date in September for both primary and post primary students.
He said that the cutting short of the already limited holiday season along the western coastline is another blow to places like Achill.
He said families enjoying beach holidays in the month of August are now finding that some of their children are back in school since 21st of August, and that has resulted in the early wrapping up of the annual beach holiday.
The councillor explained that it also hits businesses that are employing students as staff over the summer season, as the staff are returning to school in August, yet the Bank Holiday in the UK occurs the last weekend of August and that’s when seasonal staff are required.
He said when you add in the impact of Brexit on tourism numbers and the rise in rates for businesses, it is getting more difficult to survive in business in places like Achill and other coastal towns right along the Wild Atlantic Way.