Changing Good Friday pub law for 1916 celebrations 'is a no-brainer'


The LVA’s Donal O’Keeffe

Jane O'Faherty and Eilish O'Regan

Both the 1916 commemorations and a soccer clash in the Aviva Stadium are being cited by publicans as reasons to allow pubs and clubs to open on Good Friday this year.

Launching the campaign, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), which represents Dublin publicans, and the Vintners Association of Ireland (VFI) said changing the law would be a "no-brainer" for the incoming government.

Ireland will play Switzerland in a friendly soccer international in the Aviva Stadium on Good Friday, which falls on March 25 this year.

Donal O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said the existing law leaves "thousands of tourists wandering around the streets of our cities and towns asking why they can't go into a pub for a drink".

"Those numbers will be boosted this year because of the Easter 2016 celebrations," the head of the Dublin-based association added.

"We are also going to have up to 50,000 soccer fans in Dublin facing the same problem.

"It would be ridiculous if the entire hospitality sector was again forced to close on Good Friday 2016 because of a law passed in 1927."


Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI, said: "The Government previously indicated that Good Friday trading would be permitted in the context of the Sale of Alcohol Bill but so far nothing has happened.

"Most other retail businesses are open and trading so why is the licensed trade being treated differently?"

Mr Cribben argued that up to a quarter-of-a-million people were expected to pass through Dublin Airport over the Easter weekend, many of whom will be Irish people visiting families.

"A visit to a pub is often amongst the highlights of their trip, but once again they will be faced with locked doors on Good Friday unless the law is changed," he said.

"We believe there is broad public support for this measure all over the country and it should be a no-brainer for a government claiming to be pro-business and seeking re-election to introduce the required legislation," he added.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he would not object to changing the law to allow pubs to open on the holiday.

"I don't think there is any particular benefit in treating one day of the year or two days of the year any differently to others," he said.