The call follows the announcement that Ireland will play Switzerland in a friendly soccer international on Good Friday 25th March 2016 in the Aviva Stadium. The LVA welcomed the announcement of the soccer friendly and said it will add hugely to the colour of the Easter Holiday.
But LVA Chief Executive Dónall O’Keeffe described the current situation regarding licensing laws on Good Friday as ludicrous and called on the Government to remove this archaic law immediately.
“Every Good Friday we’ve tens of thousands of tourists wandering around Dublin asking why they can’t go into a pub for a drink,” he stated, “Now we’re going to have up to 50,000 soccer fans facing the same problem not to mention the tens of thousands who’ll want to watch the match in their local pub. There’s less than four months to go to Easter, there’s no real opposition to this measure and we’ve the Ireland 2016 celebrations. It looks like a ‘no-brainer’ but to date the Government has been dragging its heels on the issue.”
The current law amounts to discrimination against the licensed trade and makes no financial sense, he said, adding that the Government had previously indicated that Good Friday trading would be considered in the context of the Sale of Alcohol Bill but so far nothing had happened.
Earlier this year the Association made representations to the Government on this very issue in light of the fact that the Ireland 2016 celebrations would have a particular focus on Easter weekend and that it would be hugely embarrassing if this law was still in place for such an important event.
“The Easter 2016 celebrations – and now this soccer international – provide a terrific opportunity to showcase our capital city and it would be ridiculous if the entire hospitality sector was again forced to close on Good Friday,” he concluded, “It’s estimated that up to a quarter-of-a-million people will pass through Dublin Airport that weekend. Once again they’ll be faced with locked doors on Good Friday unless the Minister takes action now.”