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Labour candidate wants rethink of Good Friday alcohol ban

Story by John Donohoe

Wednesday, 16th April, 2014 4:55pm

Labour candidate wants rethink of Good Friday alcohol ban

Lorraine Higgins canvassing in Navan Shopping Centre with Cllr Anton McCabe. Photo: Barry Cronin.

Labour election candidate, Lorraine Higgins, has called for a rethink of national laws which ban the complete selling of alcohol on Good Friday.

“The Good Friday rule that outlaws alcohol sales needs reviewing – I think we should consider allowing licensed premises to open if they wish to do so.

“At a time when rural towns and villages across Ireland are on their knees, we are shutting struggling pubs down, and cutting a significant revenue stream off from hotels, supermarkets, and local newsagents.

“Easter is one of the most popular bank holiday weekends of the year, with thousands of tourists flocking into the country to enjoy the advent of the summer period. Equally many thousands of Irish people spend time away from home visiting friends and family. Pubs and restaurants have the opportunity to benefit from this additional influx of trade, but because of a 87 year-old law, they are prevented from doing so.

“The intention of the original law was to encourage a day of abstinence but the reality is that many people chose to drink at home on Good Friday, meaning the only real losers in this scenario are licensed pubs and restaurants. The bizarre nature of the ban will come into sharper focus on Holy Thursday evening, when we will inevitably see a mad rush to the local off-licence as people stockpile alcohol in advance.

“The 1927 Intoxicating Liquor Act originally outlawed all drinking on Good Friday but there are some exemptions to facilitate those dining in hotel restaurants, attending the theatre or a cultural institution, or travelling by sea, air or ferry. The anomaly in the intent and the execution of this outdated legislation now needs to be addressed.

“In the interests of consistency, sound business sense, and supporting our struggling pub trade, we should consider relaxing this law.”