Gardaí may challenge Good Friday pub ruling

AN Garda Síochána are to seek the advice of the Attorney General about a possible High Court appeal against the decision to allow Limerick city pubs open on Good Friday.

A report on Judge Tom O’Donnell’s ruling is being studied at garda headquarters in Dublin and a legal source said the gardaí may go to the High Court, depending on the advice they get from the Attorney General.

If the High Court upholds an appeal, the case could be sent back to Limerick District Court.

Any Garda appeal is likely to hinge on the Judge O’Donnell’s ruling that the game is a special event.

Objecting to the application by Limerick publicans at Limerick District Court, State Solicitor, Michael Murray contended that the case was not a special event in that similar games between Munster and Leinster are played each season in Thomond Park.

A previous ruling stated that “special” meant uncommon or singular.

Mr Murray said Munster v Leinster games at Thomond Park were not singular.

Publicans and fans were toasting the landmark decision last night.

Up to 100 pubs in the city and suburbs succeeded in their application to open on the evening of the crunch game.

However, only pubs in the city and it’s suburbs of Dooradoyle, Raheen, Corbally, Castletroy and Annacotty will be permitted to open from 6pm to 11.30pm.

In his ruling, Judge Tom O’Donnell said it would be absurd to have drink available in Thomond Park while local pubs would be closed.

Under the 1962 Intoxicating Liquor Act an exemption to open on Good Friday can be given for a special event.

However, the court heard that a “special event” was not defined in law.

Outside the court afterwards, publicans’ solicitor, Gearóid McGann said the ruling was groundbreaking, adding: “Once the door is open, it will happen again.”

Publican Dave Hickey of South’s pub said: “We have made history in Limerick. For the first time in the history of the licensed trade we will be able to open on Good Friday.”

Mayor Kevin Kiely said the decision took Ireland out of the dark ages.

Fr Tony Mullins, the priest administering the Diocese of Limerick following the resignation of Bishop Donal Murray, said while he respected the court ruling, he asked those attending the match and visiting the city on Good Friday to “make their own decision in accordance with their conscience”.


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