Wednesday 21 November 2018

Mayor wants 'draconian' Good Friday booze ban lifted before 1916 centenary

Christy Burke
Christy Burke
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke wants the Good Friday ban on alcohol to be lifted in time for Easter 2016.

He believes that stopping the sale of alcohol on Good Friday is "an outdated and draconian law".

"The Vatican doesn't shut down its bars or services for Good Friday, so why should we?" Mr Burke asked.

"My understanding is that hopefully that particular law will be abolished by next year.

"I think it's an old fashioned law. It's draconian."

Mr Burke, who is regularly gifted barrels of Guinness for the Mansion House, believes The Intoxicating Liquor Act actually encourages people to drink more in the run-up to Good Friday.

"I guarantee you, the day before Good Friday the supermarkets will be overloaded with people stocking up as if the city was going to shut down forever," he said.

"And then you have an excess of alcohol consumption."

Mr Burke is a recovering alcoholic and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the past 37 years.

"I go to the meetings for my thinking, not my drinking," he said.

Dublin's first citizen said that he knows little about the complimentary flow of Guinness in his Dawson Street home.

"The Guinness is there to provide refreshment for people visiting the Mansion House but I have no idea how many barrels are given as I don't drink," the Lord Mayor told the Irish Independent.

"It's a tradition that has been going on for years."

Mr Burke made his comments at Fire Restaurant, which will sell non-alcoholic cocktails and wines on Good Friday.

The Intoxicating Liquor Act, when introduced in 1927, said alcoholic drinks could not be sold on Christmas Day, Good Friday and St Patrick's Day.

The St Patrick's Day clause was appealed in the 1960s to accommodate overseas visitors coming to the country.

While alcoholic beverages are not for sale in pubs and supermarkets on Good Friday, individuals can still purchase liquor in licensed theatres, the National Concert Hall, on board trains, in greyhound stadiums and in military canteens.

Earlier this year, Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald met with Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners Federation of Ireland to discuss lifting the ban.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, claims the Intoxicating Liquor Act is costing the service industry €30m.

"This law makes Ireland the laughing stock of Europe," Mr Cummins said. "Tourists arrive in town and everything is closed down. You can see tourists wandering around in absolute amazement."

Members of the service industry are eager the law is changed in time for the Easter Rising centenary commemoration in 2016.

"A huge number of people will be travelling to Ireland next year for the event," Mr Cummins said.

Irish Independent

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