Pubs could be opened throughout the Republic on Good Friday for the first time in 88 years – but not this year.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed, following a meeting with leaders of the publicans representative groups, the government will review the ban which has existed under a 1927 law. The same law also once banned drink on St. Patrick’s Day, but that was rescinded several years ago.
Fitzgerald said the review will take place later this year – not in time to change the law for this Good Friday.
In their meeting with the minister, vintners argued that overseas visitors are “baffled” by the restrictions and cited the increased tourist traffic expected next Easter for the 1916 centenary commemorations.
They also drew attention to the fact that a European Champions Cup rugby match between Leinster and Bath is scheduled for this year’s Easter weekend. They emphasized that were Good Friday to become a normal drinking day, cash would pour into pub tills and state coffers.
Fitzgerald said the ban could be looked at alongside the government’s Sale of Alcohol Bill, due to be drafted later in the year.
The Good Friday ban was once lifted, in Limerick in April 2010, when fans in about 100 Limerick pubs were allowed to drink when Munster played Leinster in a rugby match at Thomond Park.
If, as is widely anticipated, the Good Friday ban is removed next year the only day pubs in the Republic will be closed is Christmas Day.