WITH Ash Wednesday next week marking the start of Lent, the drinks industry people are several weeks earlier this year with their annual call for the government to change the licensing laws to allow pubs to open on Good Friday, which this year falls on April 14th.
The Licensed Vintners Association (Dublin publicans) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (outside Dublin) described the current law which prohibits the sale of alcohol on Good Friday as ‘archaic and discriminatory,’ and opined that there is no case for the licensed trade to be treated differently to other retail businesses
They make a very reasonable point that Easter is a huge weekend for tourism across the country and visitors from abroad are baffled to find pubs closed on Good Friday. They also revealed that Fridays account for up to 30 percent of the week’s business for many publicans.
If pubs are allowed to open on Good Friday, it should not affect those who wish to abstain from alcohol that day on religious grounds; that is their own moral choice.
The LVA and the VFI have called on Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to introduce the necessary legislation in time for Easter 2017, but we suspect she has far more pressing matters to deal with in the current political climate.