Good Friday alcohol ban to be lifted from all premises by 2018

Broader Bill to cover restaurants, clubs and hotels as well as pubs and off-licences

Good Friday alcohol ban: the Bill tabled by Independent Senator Billy Lawless would have removed the 90-year-old prohibition only for pubs and off-licences. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Good Friday alcohol ban: the Bill tabled by Independent Senator Billy Lawless would have removed the 90-year-old prohibition only for pubs and off-licences. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

The Government is to ensure that the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday will apply to all premises rather than be restricted to pubs.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald had already announced that the Government would not oppose a Private Member’s Bill, tabled by the Independent Senator Billy Lawless earlier this year, that sought to remove the 90-year-old ban for pubs and off-licences.

She had pointed out, however, that it would lead to further legal anomalies, and she will today ask her Cabinet colleagues to consider amendments to ensure that the abolition will also apply to restaurants, clubs and hotels.

The Government’s initial intention had been to lift the ban in its own legislation that will aim to reform the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol. The Sale of Alcohol Bill is expected to come before the Dáil later this year, but the Government will remove the prohibition through amendments to Mr Lawless’s Bill, so that the proposals can pass through the Oireachtas well in advance of Good Friday 2018.

A Government source said: “While the Bill would, if enacted in its current form, permit the sale of intoxicating liquor on Good Friday in public houses and off-licences, it would not permit such sales in other categories of licensed premises, such as restaurants and hotels. Moreover, it would not apply in the case of registered clubs. It would therefore introduce further anomalies and unfair trading conditions in respect of the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.”

The amendments to be considered by the Cabinet aim to “to remove these anomalies by allowing for the sale of alcohol in all categories of licensed premises on Good Friday”.