Court rules no legal bar to late drinking on Good Friday

By Ray Managh

There is no legal bar to publicans obtaining late night license extensions allowing them to serve drinks into the early hours on Good Friday, the President of the Circuit Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, ruled today.

A judge in the Dublin District court had refused to grant a Good Friday late bar extension to the Red Cow Inn on the Naas Road, Dublin, which meant a huge back-up in similar applications pending an appeal to the Circuit Court.

The appeal was allowed today by Judge Groarke which frees publicans to obtain bar extensions in cases where there is no objection by the State authorities, including the Garda Siochana, and where all necessary legal proofs are in order.

Barrister Dorothy Collins, counsel for the Red Cow Inn, told the Circuit Civil Court that the legislation had been amended this year deleting the two words Good Friday from the 1927 Licensing Act.

“The Government’s decision means that from now on Good Friday will be treated as an ordinary day in the licensing legislation under which bar extension application may be made to the District Court,” Ms Collins said.

She said the requirement for such an application was that there has to be a special occasion such as a dance and the Red Cow and other public premises seeking extensions do hold dances.

She said that more than 40 applications before the District Court had been adjourned following the decision of the Court on Wednesday refusing a Special Exemption Order to the Red Cow.

Ms Collins told the court there had been no objection by the gardaí to the running of the event in the Red Cow. The amended legislation meant that Good Friday shall be treated under the licensing laws the same as any other day of the week.

Judge Groarke said the appeal before him arose in the context of recent changes in the licensing legislation providing that Good Friday should now be treated as an ordinary licensing day in the context of the law.

He said there were no objections on behalf of the State and gardaí and he had been assured by Ms Constance Cassidy, S.C, who appeared for a number of other publicans, that the legal proofs in each of the cases were in order.

“I can assume that all of the necessary proofs are in order and I allow the appeal in each case and grant the extensions sought,” Judge Groarke said.

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