Publicans seek end to Good Friday drink ban in Ireland

The one thing a local or indeed a visitor to Ireland could not do since 1927 is to raise a glass of alcohol in a pub on Good Friday… but all that might be about to change.

The traditional ban on drinking has stood resolute for 88 years, but now two organisations are pushing to have it overturned.

Pints of Guinness

Pints of Guinness. Image by Scott Thompson / CC BY 2.0

The Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association, who represent 4600 publicans, believe that laws on this issue  could be changed this year.

Already they have met Ireland Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, and got a positive response. Stressing the importance of tourism around this time and in particular how busy Easter time has become for sports events in Ireland, they asked for alcohol to be permitted for sale on Good Friday.

This year, The reports, there will be a big European Champions Cup rugby match taking place between Leinster and Bath on the Easter weekend which is expected to draw in thousands of extra people to Dublin.

The two representative bodies also emphasised that next year at Easter, Ireland would be celebrating the centenary of the 1916 uprising from English rule.

The Minister’s Department acknowledged that the ban had become more and more of an issue recently as it clashed with a number of major sporting fixtures.

A sign that there was no longer the stern will of old to retain the ban came five years ago when Leinster played Munster in rugby at Thomond Park, Limerick on Good Friday. Publicans there argued successfully that they would suffer massive loss of earnings and following debates in the Irish Seanad,  the sale of alcohol was permitted in Limerick for the day.

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