Novelty T-shirts rub salt in wounds of the faithful
Within hours of the court decision paving the way for Good Friday drinking, Limerick traders rushed to cash in on the move with special T-shirts.
But the garments are sure to rile some Catholics, such as one that reads "Officially bigger than the Catholic Church, Munster Rugby".
Others produced by the Repeat Style T-Shirt shop read "Mass will now take place at Thomond Park", while two others showed showed Christ dressed in a Munster shirt and described as "The 16th Man".
"We have no bishop, no minister and no hurling team, but we can drink on Good Friday," said one jubilant publican yesterday as Limerick got the green light to open pubs on Good Friday.
However, the decision dismayed not only church-goers, but doctors too.
"Disbelief" was the reaction of GP and former GAA president Dr Mick Loftus, who said the judgment by Judge Tom O'Donnell was "unbelievable in the light of the huge alcohol problem which this country is battling".
The doctor, who is a founder of Dothain, an organisation that raises awareness of alcohol misuse in Ireland, said alcohol was a gateway to drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
"It is more potent than all the other drugs combined," he stated.
Dr Loftus maintained that Judge O'Donnell had not taken into account the potential serious problems that could be caused by the exemption, such as drunk driving and public drunkenness.
"The gardai objected for these very reasons," he continued, before asking: "Does money have to come before everything?"
And Munster fan Fr Adrian Egan of the Redemptorist Church in O'Connell Avenue said: "I am disappointed that something in the nature of the day has been changed. Good Friday was a special day and a different day in our culture and our history -- a day to slow down and reflect."
Limerick Diocesan administrator Fr Tony Mullins said it is a reflection of a changing society where the practice of one's faith is becoming more a matter for the individual.
But the proprietor of South's pub in Limerick, Dave Hickey, said history had been made. "Tom O'Donnell is a very good and sensible judge. It was a common-sense decision. You couldn't have 30,000 people going around the streets on Good Friday and no place to go to," he said.