AFTER YEARS OF lobbying, pubs and shops will finally be able to sell alcohol on Good Friday in Ireland.
The Dáil has today passed legislation that will lift the alcohol ban. The move paves the way for pubs, which traditionally shut during the day, to open and trade.
The ban will be overturned as the Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017 cleared the house today. Independent senator Billy Lawless introduced the bill last year, and the motion was not opposed by the government.
The government had intended to deal with the 90-year old alcohol ban with its own legislation, however it decided to instead make amendments to the senator’s bill.
Junior Justice Minister David Stanton said that the bill will be good for tourism.
Independent Senator Billy Lawless, who proposed the bill last year, hailed its passing as “another progressive step in Ireland’s long journey of separation between church and state”.
The bill is due to be signed into law next week, from when it will take effect immediately. It will be signed into law before Good Friday this year, which falls on 30 March.
This means that pubs nationwide should be able to open on Good Friday for the first time in years.
The prohibition was originally included in the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, which set out closures for three days – Good Friday, Christmas Day and St Patrick’s Day. While the St Patrick’s Day ban was lifted in 1960, the other two have remained in place.
As explained by our sister site The Journal.ie, the two days that pubs closed are two of the most significant in the Christian calendar, marking the birth and death of Jesus.
Because Ireland was very much a Catholic country at the time of the law, the tradition was carried on and maintained.
The change in laws will likely mark the end of confused tourists wandering around Temple Bar during Good Friday, which had virtually become an annual fixture.
Publicans have estimated they lose between €30 and €40 million by closing on Good Friday.
They have lobbied for years to remove the ban, and successfully argued for the law to be suspended in 2010 for a Munster match.