Vintners hope for last ‘dry’ Good Friday

With the advent of another ‘dry’ Good Friday and this particular weekend heralding the Centenary Year of the 1916 uprising, Dublin publicans have renewed their call for the abolition of the ban on alcohol sales stating that this should be the last year that this “archaic” law be enforced.

The vintners have already explained that it would be a simple matter for the new Government to introduce amending legislation to allow pubs, restaurants and hotels serve alcohol as normal on Good Fridays.

According to the LVA several surveys have shown a clear majority of people in favour of changing the law on serving alcohol on Good Friday.

Indeed, according to a recent survey of 1,700 people carried out earlier this month by MyHome.ie, almost 60% of respondents said they’d be in favour of permitting the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.

“Frankly it’s embarrassing that this law is still in force, especially given there is an international soccer match taking place this Good Friday against Switzerland and the celebrations to mark Ireland 2016 are focused on this weekend,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “This is no way to kick off one of the main Bank Holidays of the year.”

He pointed out that while our pubs remained closed by law, certain places such as the Aviva Stadium, people travelling by train, plane, bus or ferry, those visiting the North, going to the theatre or even the dogs will also be able to purchase alcohol.

“Every Good Friday we have thousands of tourists and visitors to our capital wandering around asking why they can’t go into a pub for a drink. The fact that alcohol will be served inside the Aviva Stadium but that all the pubs in the country will be closed shows how ridiculous the law is. “Outdated laws like this actually make a mockery of our entire licensing system,” he said.

The LVA had been making representations on this issue to the acting Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald since her appointment. While the Government indicated that Good Friday trading would be considered in the context of the Sale of Alcohol Bill, the Minister ruled out any changes to the law in a radio interview prior to the election.

“We should be saying to people come in, you’re very welcome, we’re open for business. Instead, on one of the busiest weekend of the year, we’re closed because of a law passed in 1927. That’s hardly the mark of a modern European multicultural democracy.

Most other retail businesses are open and trading so why is the licensed trade being discriminated against? Consumers should have the option to go out for a drink on Good Friday to a bar, restaurant or hotel if they so choose in the same way as they can in Belfast, London, Paris, New York or even The Vatican.  It’s #AboutTime for change,” he concluded, referring to the vintners’ #AboutTime campaign.



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