Calling time on the holy hour
THE infamous `holy hour' closing in pubs on Sundays is to be abolished in time for the peak summer season.New legislation allowing the pubs to remain open on Sunday afternoons is expected to be in force within three weeks. The move was announced last night by Justice Minister John O'Donoghue who also confirmed a report in the Irish Independent last month that pubs will be able to stay open all night on New Year's Eve for the celebration of the millennium. The bill, which was approved by the Government this week, will also abolish the ban on special exemptions after midnight on Saturdays.
The limited bill is being drafted immediately to facilitate the tourist industry during this summer's season, Mr O'Donoghue said.
It is expected that the proposals will be published next week and then debated in the Dail and Seanad with the aim of bringing in the legislation before the summer recess in the first week of July.
A more comprehensive bill on licensing laws generally is to be published in the autumn.
But the Vintners Federation of Ireland did not approve the move. It believes the Minister should have published proposed legislation on the overhaul of the drinking laws.