Good Friday pub closures ‘pointless’, says Limerick priest

A Limerick priest has given his blessing to pubs opening on Good Friday.

Fr Joe Young said the current licensing law forbidding drinking in pubs on that day was “absolutely and totally pointless” given the amount of drink being consumed at home.

Publicans organisations are lobbying politicians to allow pubs open on Friday, April 14, claiming the closure at the start of the Easter holiday was hitting tourism.

Fr Young, said: “People should be allowed make up their own minds on whether to drink alcohol on Good Friday, regardless of whether it is in a pub.

“It would not bother me at all if pubs opened on Good Friday. But I think the real issue is getting lost in this debate: why people feel the need to drink alcohol on Good Friday.

“Ireland’s relationship with alcohol, particularly in the context of mental health, depression, and suicide has to be examined. We cannot ignore the number of people taking their own lives and the role alcohol plays.”

Fr Seamus Enright, head of the Redemptorists in the city, said he was neutral on the subject of pubs opening on Good Friday.

“A part of me feels that it is nice to have one day in the year that is not commercial and another part feels Ireland has to change a lot and not everybody is Catholic or religious and, in other countries, people live out their faith without any civic or legal supports,” said Fr Enright.

“A part of me would like to keep it and another part of me wouldn’t be very upset if it were changed.

“I would worry about so much now being seen in economic terms, and I feel that much now in society is being subordinated to an economic reading rather than looking at what’s good for the community. Sometimes I feel that we are sacrificing everything for the sake of economic benefit.”

Seven years ago, Limerick pubs were permitted to open from 6pm to 11pm on Good Friday by Judge Tom O’Donnell to facilitate rugby fans attending a Munster v Leinster game at Thomond Park.

At the time, councillor Jim Long poured a ceremonial first pint on the dot of 6pm in a packed South’s Bar on Quinlan’s St.

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