Good Friday SEOs adjudication tomorrow

Late bar extensions this Good Friday running into the early hours of Saturday March 31st are the subject of a test case currently before the Dublin District Court and due for a judicial decision tomorrow, Wednesday, following the passing of the Amendment to the Intoxicating Liquor Act last month allowing pubs to sell alcohol this Good Friday.

In making an application for a SEO, the Red Cow Inn in Dublin is being represented by Dorothy Collins BL who told the Court that this application was being supported by the Licensed Vintners Association and if refused, an appeal will be launched.

The LVA has provided the Court with a letter supporting Special Exemption applications on behalf of its members.

“We have lobbied for Good Friday to be treated as a normal Friday from a licensing perspective, including late trading on Holy Thursday night and Good Friday night,” the LVA commented, “There is no legal impediment to this happening, so we trust the Court will look favourably on these applications.”

The LVA also submitted that, “Our rational was that Good Friday should be treated like a normal Friday from a licensing perspective. This should include the possibility of obtaining Special Exemption Orders on Holy Thursday and Good Friday night in order to serve the obvious demand for late bars in Dublin across this key trading weekend”.

Dorothy Collins BL pointed out to the Court that as the Amendment had ensured that there was now no reference to Good Friday in the Act it had now been “deemed to be an ordinary Friday”.

Most of the 110 premises presently applying for a SEO are doing so in relation to Good Friday.

However all applications for Special Exemptions on Holy Thursday night and Good Friday night have been adjourned until tomorrow (Wed 28th February) pending a decision by Judge Michael Coghlan.

The Red Cow Inn’s application is being viewed as a test-case for the entire country as it’s understood that other judges are waiting to see what happens. If publicans are refused SEOs any appeals to the Circuit Court will have to be heard promptly due to obvious time constraints.

As the Vintners Federation of Ireland understands the situation, Good Friday is now a normal trading day for pubs. Normal opening hours apply and some venues will apply for Special Exemptions to these hours as is usual, it told Drinks Industry Ireland.

There was no Garda objection to the Red Cow’s application.



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