Publicans call for ‘archaic’ Good Friday ban to be lifted

Publicans call for ‘archaic’ Good Friday ban to be lifted

It’s one of only two days a year that pubs don’t currently open, and once again this year Publicans are calling for the ban on opening on Good Friday to be lifted.

Those asking for the law to be changed have cited the negative implications the closure of pubs has on tourism, and the loss of earnings on what is one of the busiest days of the week normally.

Stock Irish bar image 07022017

Those arguing for the law to remain in place say Good Friday represents one of only a few days that have not been fully commercialised, although most other commercial businesses do now operate on Good Friday.

The two main representative groups in favour of the ban being lifted, the Licensed Vintners Association (Dublin publicans) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (Outside Dublin) 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,” he stated.

“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.”

Padraig Cribben CEO of the VFI said the public view the law as being completely out-of-date and publicans believe there is broad support for the law to be amended.

He said: “The law is over 90 years old. In 2017 consumers should have the option to go out for a drink on Good Friday if they so choose.

“Indeed many are choosing to drink at home or organise house parties on the day.

“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.

So what do you think? Should pubs be allowed to open on Good Friday?.

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