The Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017, co-sponsored by Senators Michael McDowell, Victor Boyhan and Gerard Craughwell, calls for the lifting of the current ban on the selling of alcohol from all licensed premises on Good Friday.
“We commend the senators for introducing this amendment,” stated LVA Chief Executive Dónall O’Keeffe, “This is a commonsense move which the LVA has been supporting for many years and more recently with its #AboutTime campaign. We’re calling on the Government to facilitate the quick passage of this amendment so that on April 14 this year we can consign this archaic law to history, which is where it belongs.”
Chicago publican and former Galway publican Oireachtas Senator Billy Lawless believes the Irish pub to be “an intrinsic part of our hugely successful tourism offering and a major employer in the economy.
“As a modern European nation we have outgrown this dated practice and I hold this view as a citizen and Oireachtas representative who respects all traditions and faiths.
“We have witnessed and lived through many changes in Ireland, from the abolition of Holy Hour through to the passing of the marriage equality referendum and it is now time to amend the liquor licencing legislation in a similar progressive vein.”
He pointed out that many in the Oireachtas who supported the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill were also in favour of pubs opening on Good Friday.
A fresh stronger campaign to get the Good Friday closing ban overturned by a Minister for Justice reluctant to alter the traditional status quo was launched earlier this month at Buswells Hotel by the VFI and LVA where the ministers were accused of living in ‘neverneverland’ by VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben.
“Publicans have been engaging with politicians on this issue for the last six years but the constant response is the issue will be addressed as part of a new Sale of Alcohol Bill,” he stated, “ It’s as if ministers are living in Never-never land while the rest of us have to live in the real world.”
However, while vintners would like to see the Amendment made law before Good Friday this year, this is unlikely to take place before April 14th, Good Friday 2017, unless the legislation is undertaken outside the Sale of Alcohol Bill.