Tuesday 21 November 2017

Why a dry Good Friday is silly and an affront to non-believers

We should be free to drink in the same way on any Friday as we can on any Thursday or Saturday
We should be free to drink in the same way on any Friday as we can on any Thursday or Saturday
It is an annual note in constant background noise of religious interference

Michael Nugent

In 1924, Ireland had one pub for every 200 people, twice the ratio of England. The new Irish Free State parliament was debating keeping Good Friday and St Patrick's Day dry, as well as closing pubs during "the hours of Divine Service" on Sunday mornings.

Were the new regulations aimed at keeping public order? No. Justice Minister Kevin O'Higgins made clear that: "They were not inserted from that angle at all, but rather as an attempt to interpret the collective mind or wish of the people concerning matters that are partly religious and partly sentimental."

Most TDs agreed. Deputy Jouis J. D'Alton said Good Friday "should be specially devoted to the Lord. It is a day on which there should be devotions for all Christians". Deputy Tom Johnson said it was "a Christian memorial day" and the ban would "fit in with the wishes of the people when seriously contemplating their religion".

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