Restaurants criticise €25m hit in revenues for Good Friday

The Restaurants Association says tourism is also taking a hit

Good Friday, alcohol, ban, Ireland, Restaurants Association of Ireland, RAI, Adrian Cummins

File photo of patrons holding their drinks | Image: Yui Mok / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) says the ban of alcohol sales on Good Friday is "unacceptable" at such a busy time for the tourism, restaurant and hospitality industry.

Chief executive of the RAI, Adrian Cummins, says that the law is not only affecting our tourism brand abroad, but also business internally.

"This law affects more than just the diners who want a drink, it affects thousands of restaurant employees on a busy weekend when restaurants simply won't open", he said.

"It is unacceptable to have this archaic ban in place on religious grounds, especially in the multi-cultural and multi-religious society that Ireland has become".

The association says that between 1916 centenary celebrations and an international soccer friendly in the Aviva Stadium, this weekend is expected to draw an estimated quarter of a million visitors to Ireland.

"A change in legislation to allow for the sale of alcohol on Good Friday this year would be worth €25m to the industry and €6m to the government in taxes", it adds.

"Ireland must be the only country in the world that has a bank holiday weekend and actually chooses to close the tourist attractions it is best known for - the centres of craic and ceol - the restaurants and pubs of the country. Even the Vatican City doesn't obey this ridiculous law", Mr Cummins said.

He also noted that in 2009, Judge Mary Fahy said prosecuting restaurants which offered wine with meals on Good Friday was 'ludicrous'.

During a hearing in Galway District Court, she decided not to record convictions against nine restaurants that had done this.