Publicans want Good Friday drink ban lifted

At the launch of their #AboutTime campaign, publicans called the current law "archaic"

Publicans nationwide are calling on the Government to amend the licensing laws to permit all licensed premises to trade normally on Good Friday.

The two main representative groups, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) described the current law which prohibits the sale of alcohol on Good Friday as "archaic" and "discriminatory".

Speaking at the launch of the #AboutTime campaign, Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA said the rationale for a change to the law was compelling.

"There is no case for the licensed trade to be treated differently to other retail businesses. Easter is a huge tourism weekend right across the country. Forcing pubs and all licensed hospitality businesses to close sends a very negative signal to tourists and visitors who are left baffled and disappointed by the measure.”

Mr O'Keeffe indicated feedback from tourists showed the "fallacy" of the Government's claim to be pro-business.

"Ministers are living in never-never land"

Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI, said the public view the law as being completely out-of-date and publicans believe there is broad support for the law to be amended.

"Friday itself is a very important trading day – for many publicans it accounts for 30% of their weekly business – and this is especially true of bank holiday weekends.

"The Government claim to be ready for Brexit but their inability to make a simple law change, makes one wonder. Publicans have been engaging with politicians on this issue for the last six years but the constant response is the issue will be addressed as part of a new Sale of Alcohol Bill. It’s as if ministers are living in never-never land while the rest of us have to live in the real world", he said.

The LVA and the VFI are now calling on the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald to introduce the necessary legislation in time for Easter 2017 and to avoid further procrastination by deferring it to the Sale of Alcohol Bill.

Where can you get a drink on Good Friday?

  1. Travel by rail, air, ferry or bus – once you have a ticket you are entitled to be served a drink at the departing/arrival terminus
  2. Stay in a hotel – residents can be served drink with a meal.
  3. Go to the theatre
  4. Go to the dogs
  5. Cross the border into Northern Ireland