Friday 13 December 2019

Church will not object to pubs opening for big game

Barry Duggan

THE Catholic Church will not object in court to publicans applying for a special exemption to sell alcohol on Good Friday.

The decision will be regarded as a major boost to the campaign by Limerick publicans who are attempting to open for six hours on April 2 to accommodate patrons who wish to view the biggest clash of the domestic rugby calendar.

The Magners League game between Munster and Leinster has been fixed for Thomond Park stadium on the evening of Good Friday and all 26,000 tickets have sold out in advance.

Irate publicans, who had unsuccessfully attempted to lobby competition organisers -- Celtic League -- to move the fixture, are set to launch a legal bid at Limerick District Court for an area exemption.

The application by the vintners is to allow all pubs within the city licensee area to open on the night of the game.

The Irish Independent has learnt the Diocese of Limerick will not lodge any objection during the court proceedings for the application.

A spokesman for the diocese said that, from an administration perspective, "this is a matter for the courts and will be decided there".

While the church has taken a pragmatic view on the Good Friday debate, a source said it was expected to address the issue concerning the consumption of alcohol on the day after the legal proceedings had concluded.


The application to the courts is expected to be heard within the next two weeks, but the issue could be addressed by the Limerick Diocese at Masses across the city and county before Good Friday.

While the Limerick Diocese will not object to the publicans' application in the courts, a member of the church may attempt to individually do so.

Limerick publicans will meet today to sign up to the court application which covers the city borough.

If successful in their unique legal action, 100 pubs within the Limerick city area will be the only pubs in the country open on Good Friday.

Objections to pubs opening on Good Friday -- and the game being held on the date -- have been raised among religious circles in Limerick.

Irish Independent

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