Saturday 24 February 2018

Publicans call for end to 'archaic' Good Friday alcohol ban

pubs Photo: PA
pubs Photo: PA
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Publicans across the country have called for the Government to put an end to the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday, saying this year is of particular importance given the fact that Ireland will play Switzerland in the Aviva on the religious day.

The two main representative groups, the Licensed Vintners Association, which represents Dublin publicans, and the Vintners Federation of Ireland, which covers the rest of the country, have called on the Government to immediately introduce legislation to treat Good Friday as an ordinary trading day for pubs, restaurants and hotels.

The two bodies today launched a new campaign titled '#AboutTime', which is calling for the government to undo the law that was brought into effect in 1927.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, chief executive of the LVA, Donall O'Keefe, said that after receiving legal advice, altering the law would be relatively straighforward.

“Every Good Friday we have thousands of tourists wandering around the streets of our cities and towns asking why they can’t go into a pub for a drink. Those numbers will be boosted this year because of the Easter 2016 celebrations. We are also going to have up to 50,000 soccer fans in Dublin facing the same problem outside the stadium.

“Due to our archaic licensing laws not only will those attending the match be able to have a drink in the stadium but so also will those travelling by train, plane, bus or ferry, those visiting the North, going to the theatre or the dogs! We have been making representations to the current Minister on this issue since June 2014 but to date the Government hasn’t delivered," Mr O'Keefe said.

Chief executive of the VFI, Padraig Cribben, said that the current law discriminates against the industry.

“The Government previously indicated that Good Friday trading would be permitted in the context of the Sale of Alcohol Bill but so far nothing has happened. Most other retail businesses are open and trading so why is the licensed trade being treated differently?

"We know many consumers have a drink at home on Good Friday but they should have the option to go out for one if they so choose," Mr Cribben said.

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