Health minister will not oppose dropping of Good Friday alcohol ban

Leo Varadkar will not object to any proposals the Department of Justice might make

The Health Minister Leo Varadkar says he will not oppose legislation allowing the selling of alcohol on Good Friday.

Publicans, including the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland, say that the lifting of the 1927 ban is long overdue.

They are pointing to the 1916 celebrations and Ireland's football match with Switzerland that day as reasons for lifting the ban.

Mr Varadkar says while it is an issue for the Department of Justice, he will not protest the legislation on health grounds.

"Our focus in health is on reducing alcohol consumption and on reducing binge drinking, and that's all being done with the Public Health Alcohol Bill", he said.

"I don't see any particular benefit in treating one or two particular days of the year any differently to the others, so there won't be any objection from health to any change if it's proposed by the minister for justice", he added.

Publicans are calling on the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to change the law banning the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.

They say the archaic, discriminatory law has no place in a modern country.

And they are pointing to the increased tourist numbers, saying the Exchequer loses out on up to €6m by closing all pubs and off-licenses.

Oliver Hughes, who operates Lillies Bordello, says as a nightclub he loses two nights.

Donal O’Keeffe is head of the LVA.