Europe

Trade bodies call for pubs to open on Good Friday in Republic of Ireland

Beer at a city bar Image copyright AFP
Image caption At present legislation prevents pubs from selling alcohol on that day

The bodies that represents publicans in the Republic of Ireland have called on the government to reconsider allowing bars to open on Good Friday.

At present, legislation prevents pubs from selling alcohol on that day.

Publicans have described the law as "archaic and discriminatory" and said it had "no place in a modern country".

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) want the government to introduce legislation immediately.

The two main representative groups for the licensed industries want Good Friday to be treated as an ordinary trading day for pubs, restaurants and hotels.

The call follows the announcement that Ireland will play Switzerland in a friendly soccer international on Good Friday on 25 March in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

In addition, the LVA and VFI argue the Ireland 2016 celebrations will have a particular focus on Easter 2016.

Legal advice

With 26 February being widely tipped as the election date in the Republic of Ireland, publicans say the government must act immediately if amending legislation is to be passed in time.

Speaking at the launch of the #AboutTime campaign, Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said their legal advice was that changing the law would be relatively straightforward, but it would require amending legislation to be passed by the Oireachtas.

"Every Good Friday we have thousands of tourists wandering around the streets of our cities and towns asking why they can't go into a pub for a drink," he said.

"Those numbers will be boosted this year because of the Easter 2016 celebrations. We are also going to have up to 50,000 soccer fans in Dublin facing the same problem outside the stadium.

"Due to our archaic licensing laws not only will those attending the match be able to have a drink in the stadium but so also will those travelling by train, plane, bus or ferry, those visiting the north, going to the theatre or the dogs.

"We have been making representations to the current minister on this issue since June 2014 but, to date, the government hasn't delivered."

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