Limerick pubs to open on Good Friday

Thu, Mar 25, 2010, 00:00

A judge has ruled that publicans in Limerick can open for business on Good Friday.

Publicans made the application because of rugby match between Munster and Leinster scheduled for Thomond Park that evening.

The publicans had argued that the game was a special event deserving of a court order allowing pubs to open.

Gardaí objected to the application with the city’s State solicitor, Michael Murray arguing the match on April 2nd did not constitute a “special event”.

In his decision this morning District Court Judge Tom O’Donnell noted it seemed somewhat absurd that people could drink within Thomond Park – which had secured a licence for the day – but could not consume alcohol in pubs in the city.

He said the 26,000 or so people due to attend the match could obtain alcohol in the stadum if they wished and he was sure gardaí were not too keen on having this number of people hanging around after the game.

The ruling allows Limerick publicans in the city centre to open from 6pm until 11.30pm. They had sought permission to open until midnight and for bars in Limerick county to be include.

The application was made by Jerry O’Dea, chairman of the Limerick Vintners Federation. The ruling covers approximately 110 pubs in the city, an area stretching from the surrounding suburbs of Raheen, Castletroy, Corbally and Dooradoyle.

Mark O’Connell from accountants BDO Simpson Xavier told the court this week it was estimated the game was worth up to €7.3 million to the city if the pubs were allowed to open.

Speaking outside the court, David Hickey, the owner of South’s bar on O’Connell Avenue, welcomed the move.

He said Limerick currently had neither a bishop nor a minister but people could have a drink in the city on Good Friday.

The move to open on the holy day had sparked controversy in the city and the issue has been hotly debated.

Franciscan friars, whose friary is located in Moyross, in the shadow of Thomond Park, had called on Catholics to boycott the game. They are considering holding a prayer vigil outside to bear witness, they say, to the true meaning of the day.