Monday 14 October 2019

Closing pubs didn't stop Good Friday drinks

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

So after decades, the legislation has changed to allow the pubs of Ireland to trade on Good Friday.

To be honest, I can't understand the hype around it and why it offends so many people. The campaign has been a long time in the pipeline and it was only a matter of time before it would be legal for publicans to trade. The main argument for retaining the closure rule was religious but whether we like it or not, Ireland has changed and many people do not expect pubs to stay closed and observe Good Friday in this way. For years, many have circumvented this rule and anyone who is a hotel resident can eat and drink whatever they like, holy day or not, so why should the publicans be made to lose out on a day's business?

Anyone who wishes to observe the tradition of abstaining from alcohol on Good Friday, is entitled to, and they don't have to go anywhere near the pubs, but those who are not religious, should be able to enjoy a Friday night out like any other, if they wish.

The whole issue is about respect, and respecting the beliefs of others. Practicing Catholics who fast on Good Friday are not judged for their beliefs but equally, if public houses are open, surely it does not affect those who would never frequent them on that day anyway. Publicans have taken a hammering in the pocket since the recession hit, and for many the tide has not turned enough for them to comfortably forgo a day's trade if it is available.

Some argue that they only have two official days on which they close every year - Good Friday and Christmas Day and that the general public should accept this and respect it.

However, any publican who wishes to continue to observe the Good Friday closure is still entitled to do so for religious reasons if they so wish. Changing the legislation simply allows choice - choice for publicans to trade if they wish and choice for customers to go out if they want to. It's not about the raging Irish drinkers who cannot abstain from alcohol for a single day. It's about letting adults make a decision that is right for them, and not feeling like the State has to take charge and close all the pubs to stop people from drinking on a holy day. The reality is, whether the pubs are open or closed, those who want to drink will anyway and we only have to go to any supermarket on Holy Thursday to see the proof of this.

Enniscorthy Guardian