Dublin's liquor license holders have been requested to "voluntarily refrain" from selling alcohol until after 4 pm on March 17, St. Patrick's Day.
The ban aims to discourage street drinking while crowds gather for the family-friendly parade on Friday afternoon.
"Each year, An Garda Síochána engages with a wide range of stakeholders including public houses, shops, and off-licences [liquor stores] well in advance of St. Patrick’s Day festivities," a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána, Ireland's police force, told IrishCentral on Wednesday, March 15.
"Businesses who hold an alcohol licence are invited to a DMR liquor licensing meeting. This year, it took place at the Mansion House in Dublin on Tuesday 21st February 2023.
"The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a family-friendly event and the showcase event for the St. Patricks Festival and to assist Gardaí with the policing event of this event, licence holders are requested to voluntarily refrain from selling off sales until after 4 pm on 17th of March.
"If/ where necessary, An Garda Síochána also has enforcement powers under Liquor Licensing legislation, Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act and Local Dublin City Council Bye-Laws in relation to consumption of alcohol in public places."
This is not the first time that off-licenses in the region of the St. Patrick's Festival parade have adhered to this ban. Assistant Garda Commissioner Angela Willis said at a Garda briefing in Dublin on Wednesday: “Like other years, we’re very pleased that we have the cooperation and support of licensees, and therefore, alcohol will not be sold in the city centre before 4 pm on St Patrick’s Day."
Willis said the adherence to the voluntary ban on alcohol sales "is a very significant contribution from our business community and licensees in supporting the success of recent St Patrick’s festivals, and it is very much appreciated and is critical to ensuring an enjoyable experience for all in attendance."
Additionally, a "Temple Bar plan" will be in place on Friday "to ensure the safety of patrons attending Temple Bar through controlled access and egress following the parade."
Willis said: “The festival and parade is family-friendly. You can expect high-visibility policing. We're here to provide assistance and help, and you can play your part by arriving early, following the instructions of gardaí and stewards who will be there on the day.
"We want everyone to have a great time with family and friends, and we will be making safety a priority."
While off-licenses, or liquor stores, have been asked to not sell alcohol until after 4 pm on St.Patrick's Day, Dublin's pubs will be open as regular.
"On St Patrick’s Day, pubs in Dublin city centre will be open our full permitted hours 12:30 pm to 12:30 am," the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the trade association and representative body for the publicans of Dublin, said on Wednesday.
"City centre pubs, supermarkets and off licences have been asked to refrain from off licence sales until after 4pm."
On St Patrick’s Day pubs in Dublin city centre will be open our full permitted hours 12.30pm to 12.30am.
City centre pubs, supermarkets and off licences have been asked to refrain from off licence sales until after 4pm. https://t.co/f004okVpI5— LVA (@LVADublinPubs) March 15, 2023
LVA chief executive Donal O'Keefe further told the Irish Times: “Under no circumstances will we be shut until 4 pm on St Patrick’s Day.
"Pubs are an integral part of the festival. They come to us for drink, they come to us for food. We haven’t been asked to close.”
(Up until the 1970s, Irish law prohibited pubs from opening on March 17 as a mark of respect for this religious day.)
After St. Patrick's Day last year, Assistant Commissioner, Dublin Metropolitan Region Anne-Marie Cagney said there had been a focus on seizure of alcohol and public drinking and ensuring that the day was “family-friendly."
She said good cooperation was obtained from some off-licenses to refrain from selling alcohol before 4 pm and that this “significantly assisted” in the policing of St Patrick’s Day.
434 arrests were made in Dublin over the five-day St. Patrick's Day period in 2022, with the majority being public order offenses.