Good Friday alcohol ban lifted in Republic
PUBS in the Republic will be allowed to sell alcohol on Good Friday for the first time in almost a century after the Dáil passed new legislation yesterday.
The alcohol ban had been in place for 90 years, although the Dáil heard customers had found ways of circumventing the prohibition including buying drinks on trains.
An amendment to the Intoxicating Liquor Act, introduced by a number of independent Senators, is expected to be signed off by President Michael D Higgins in time for Good Friday this year.
Government minister David Stanton said the move would be a boost for Irish tourism.
"Tourism makes a much greater contribution to our economy and this is particularly true during holidays, such as the busy Easter period," he said.
"In addition, changing demographics and increasing diversity in our population have led to a reduction in traditional religious practice.
"Taking all these factors into consideration the Government considered that it was an opportune time to have an examination of the Good Friday restrictions."
However, some TDs opposed the law change.
Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan said Ireland had unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
"Are we saying that the only tourists we want are those who can't last 24 hours without buying a drink in a public house?" she said.
"With this bill what message are we sending out? I actually think we could do with a few Good Fridays throughout the year."
Pubs in the north must still comply with restricted opening hours from Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, alcohol can only be sold between 5pm and 11pm.
Hospitality Ulster chief Colin Neill has previously said restricted opening hours are costing the industry around £16 million.