Exemptions from Good Friday alcohol-sale ban


LEGISLATION banning the sale of alcohol on Good Friday is almost as old as the State itself.

In 1927, the Intoxicating Liquor Act enshrined in law that alcoholic drink could not be sold on Christmas Day, Good Friday and St Patrick's Day.

The law relating to St Patrick's Day was later repealed in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1960 to cater for foreign visitors coming to celebrate the national feast day.

But the ban on a tipple during the other days has stood the test of time -- and also fierce opposition from publicans.

The ban also extends to alcohol in pubs, restaurants and supermarkets.

However, the legislation does contain some exemptions. Perhaps the best known of which is the provision allowing the sale of alcohol to those travelling by sea, air or ferry.

In addition, people can be sold pints while attending a licensed theatre, the National Concert Hall or a national cultural institution, as defined in the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997.

Those attending a race meeting or a greyhound trial can be supplied with alcohol, as can those staying in licensed premises, such as a hotel, as long as it is with a meal.

It can also be sold in a military canteen and a club can be provided with authorisation to sell alcohol for six hours on Good Friday.

Last year, Judge Mary Fahy said prosecuting restaurants which offered wine with meals on Good Friday was "ludicrous" in today's world. During a hearing in Galway district court, she decided not to record convictions against nine Galway city restaurants that had done this.