Seanad backs plans to remove ban on Good Friday pub opening

The Seanad has passed a Bill to pave the way for alcohol to be sold on Good Friday.

The Bill was passed unanimously after the Government made amendments to make sure the new law applies to pubs and not just hotels.

The legislation now goes to the Dáil where it will be debated after the summer break.

Independent senator Billy Lawless, the man behind the Bill, suggested that rather than cut down on alcohol abuse, the Good Friday ban contributes to binge drinking.

"Currently an 18 year old with €10 can buy 10 cans of beer on Holy Thursday to keep for the next day but cannot walk into a pub to meet friends where he might buy two or three pints for the same money.

"Removing this 90-year-old law from our statute books sends another clear message that Ireland is a pluralist, global and forward thinking country."

He added: “My interest in this Bill is a very simple one, restaurants and pubs should be allowed to serve alcohol on what is a holy day for Christians.

“The passing of this Bill is another progressive step in Ireland’s long journey of separation between Church and State”.

He acknowledged that “there is an affinity to the closure of pubs on Good Friday but that affinity is actually, in many cases leading to alcohol abuse. It is stated Government policy to reduce binge drinking in Ireland, an objective we all support. Keeping pubs closed on Good Friday actively incentivises binge drinking where people gather all day, fuelling with alcohol in an uncontrolled environment”.

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