Today is probably the biggest off licence purchasing day in Ireland. As tomorrow is good Friday and by law all the bars have to close. This law is one of the last vestiges left in Ireland of the time when the Catholic Church ruled the country and said that all bars must be closed on Good Friday. I am surprised they didn’t have a similar law banning the opening of butchers.
In this new multicultural Ireland where we have people of all religions and none it seems wrong that the bars are been forced to close due to some catholic tradition. Na in fact it is a disgrace. We are not Dev pious spiritually people we are materialistic alcoholics. So why is this law still in place?
The law that covers this is the Intoxicatin Liquor Act (2000) yes you read it correctly 2000 this is not a law that was brought in Dev’s time this law was amended by the present government. The same government who’s main party has a member that decided it was part of his job description to release a press release giving out about the an increase of 4 cent in the price of a pint. Would a party in any other country say “efforts must be taken to ensure drinkers are not being ripped off.”? this is of course coming from the party that scuppered the café bars. What kind of message does this send out. With all the troubles in the country do we really think TD’s should be devoting their energies to a price increase of 4 cent by a single product. Only the polls will tell whether the voters of Dublin North East think they are getting value for their taxes for Martin Brady.
Anyway back to Good Friday The original law dates back to 1927 here is the amended version.
“(1) Save as otherwise provided by this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person to sell or expose for sale any intoxicating liquor, or to open or keep open any premises for the sale of intoxicating liquor, or to permit any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on licensed premises—
(a) at any time on Christmas Day or Good Friday;
(b) on any other day, as specified hereunder, outside the times so specified in respect of it—
(i) Saint Patrick’s Day: between 12.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day;
(ii) the 23rd December: if it falls on a Sunday, between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.;
(iii) Christmas Eve and the eve of Good Friday: between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.;
(iv) the eve of any public holiday (other than Christmas Eve):
(I) if the eve falls on a weekday, between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day, or
(II) if it falls on a Sunday, between 12.30 p.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day;
(v) any other Sunday (except a Saint Patrick’s Day which falls on a Sunday): between 12.30 p.m. and 11.00 p.m.;
(vi) any other Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday: between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m.; and
(vii) any other Thursday, Friday or Saturday: between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 a.m. on the following day.
Now really this law makes little sense to me why are these days been excluded, why don’t we have a similar law banning the sale of Tobacco or McDonalds. Now I disagree with pub closing times but I can see some logic to it. It is in effect to stop people excessively drinking and being violent. Good Friday is picked because it is a catholic holy day no other reason. To a non-Christian good Friday is just a Friday like any other. It is a disgrace that we still do this in this country. The government talk about equality if they believe that then they should remove this ban. If you are Catholic don’t go to the pub don’t expect the government to legislate your religion. My point is not that I want to go drinking on Good Friday it is that I should have the choice
However possibly the worst thing about this is that fact that people stock up for the day. They see it as a challenge. They panic buy alcohol thinking my god I can’t drink tomorrow I better stock up. This says something about us in Ireland that is not nice.