Seanad backs bill to end Good Friday alcohol ban

The Dáil will have to vote on the legislation before it becomes law

Seanad backs bill to end Good Friday alcohol ban

Photo: Guinness

The Seanad has passed a bill to pave the way for alcohol to be sold on Good Friday.

The Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed unanimously in the upper house after the Government made amendments to make sure the new law applies to pubs and not just hotels.

The legislation now goes to the Dáil, where it will be debated after the summer break.

Independent senator Billy Lawless is the man behind the bill, who suggests the Good Friday ban contributes to binge drinking.

He argued: "Currently an 18-year-old with €10 can buy 10 cans of beer on Holy Thursday to keep for the next day, but cannot walk into a pub [where they] might only buy two to three pints for the same money.

"Removing this 90-year-old [law] from our statute books sends another clear message that Ireland is a pluralist, global and forward-thinking country."

Senator Lawless added: "The passing of this Bill is another progressive step in Ireland’s long journey of separation between Church and State."

The news of today's vote was welcomed by the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI).

Th organisation's CEO Padraig Cribben argued: “The current law comes from a different era and fails to reflect the contemporary, diverse society we now live in.

“Besides the antiquated nature of the law, the Good Friday ban is unfair to tourists and presents a negative image of our country. Removing the ban is positive news for the tourist industry as we fight the effects of Brexit and a weak Sterling.”

Reporting by Gavan Reilly and Stephen McNeice