THE Government is planning to review the Good Friday drinking ban, the Herald has learned.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald (inset) confirmed that the Government will "review" the Good Friday laws later this year.
Her comments come following "a positive" meeting last week with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), which hope to remove the law that has been in place since 1927.
The minister said the meeting had focused on "the need to align planning law with the granting of licences to better reflect the interests of local communities and ensure good local planning".
She said the ban could be looked at alongside the Government's Sale of Alcohol Bill, due to be drafted later in the year.
This would mean that the law will not be changed this Easter, but the Ms Fitzgerald did say that despite the Bill, "the matter will be kept under review".
Publicans were hoping to see a change in the law this year in advance of the big rugby game between Leinster and Bath due to take place that weekend.
The LVA has been lobbying the Government to lift the ban this year in the interests of tourism.
"This is just another particularly pertinent example of why we need to trade on Good Friday. The rationale for being closed on the day is long past," said Donall O'Keeffe of the LVA.
The Sale of Alcohol Bill is due to be published later this year and is what the Government calls a Bill "to codify the law relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol".
The ban was once lifted, in Limerick in April 2010, when fans in about 100 pubs were allowed to drink when Munster played Leinster at Thomond Park.