Senator: Opening pubs on Good Friday "may be detrimental" to our national identity

The alcohol ban looks set to be lifted by 2018

A Fine Gael senator has said that the proposed opening of licensed premises on Good Friday would be detrimental to our national identity, and that we must not give in to every aspect of commercialisation.

“The closure of licensed premises across Ireland on Good Friday is such a long-standing tradition that I believe it has firmly become a part of our cultural identity," Fine Gael Senator for Cavan and Monaghan Joe O’Reilly said in a statement.

“The closure of pubs and bars on Good Friday, in my opinion, sends a subliminal message regarding our attitude to alcohol in signalling that we do favour a temperance from it, emphasised by its unavailability on one or two days of the year.

“I understand many people may argue that the opening of licensed premises on Good Friday would be positive, however, I must respectfully disagree. We cannot, and should not, give in to every aspect of commercialisation, particularly in cases whereby it would be detrimental to our country’s long-standing traditions.

“I believe we must have a thorough, and independent, conversation before any decision is taken on allowing licensed premises to open on Good Friday and overruling this long-standing national tradition."

Senator O'reilly said that the long-term impact of the change must be examined, and concluded by saying that the message the move will send to young people must also be considered.

Proposed amendment 'falls short'

Addressing the Seanad earlier today, Minister David Stanton said that while the Government is not opposed to the proposed amendment of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1927, he said the Bill "falls well short" of what is required in order to reform the Good Friday rules.

"Reform of the Good Friday rules cannot be viewed entirely in isolation from the wider context of public concern about excessive consumption of intoxicating liquor and the extent of alcohol-related harm, including significant health risks," he said. 

He also highlighted that the Bill would not remove the restriction in respect of restaurants.