Leading nationalist and unionist politicians have called on the Government to make St Patrick's Day a public holiday in Northern Ireland.This is an annual request; making it this year, halfway through its most depressing month, is good tactics:
March 17 is known around the world as the day to celebrate Ireland's patron saint, but while it is a full public holiday in the Irish Republic, it is only a bank holiday north of the border.
Leader of the nationalist SDLP Margaret Ritchie has written to Secretary of State Owen Paterson on the issue, and her call for a change has been backed by Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Junior..
Ms Ritchie is MP for South Down, where St Patrick is reputed to be buried in the grounds of the Church of Ireland's Down Cathedral in the town of Downpatrick.
"Patrick is one thing that we can all, Catholic and Protestant, unite around in Northern Ireland," she said
Ian P Jr adds his support in his own inimitable style:
"His legacy unites us all and he is a unifying figure in Northern Ireland. "Ah, sorry that's still Margaret, here's Paisley Jr:
"St Patrick was a prototype Protestant, so why would anyone have any problem."That's the argument sold then.
The truth is that for almost everybody in Northern Ireland, March 17th is already a twilight day in terms of meaningful work being accomplished, so just to go a slightly further distance and make it a full holiday probably makes sense.
Not great news though for those of us who actually don't get paid for each extra day the state decides to sanction as an official holiday... but sure if our political elite, their assorted apparatchiks and our mammoth lump of a public sector are happy, then even we mustn't grumble.