Sláinte: Pubs rake in €40m on Good Friday after ban is lifted

Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said the novelty factor convinced many to visit pubs

James Cummins, manager of the Stag’s Head in Dublin, said trading was brisk and not unlike a normal Friday.

James Cummins, manager of the Stag’s Head in Dublin, said trading was brisk and not unlike a normal Friday.

 

The opening of pubs on Good Friday is likely to have generated more than €40 million in sales for the sector, according to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland.

Friday marked the first time in the State’s history that citizens were permitted to drink alcohol legally in pubs. Legislation was passed in the Dáil in January to pave the way for pubs to open their doors.

Publicans across the State reported a “busy day’s trade” as customers took the opportunity to make a little bit of history.

“There was a novelty factor involved for many people who wanted the first-time experience of visiting a pub on Good Friday,” said Vintners’ Federation of Ireland chief executive Padraig Cribben.

“Our members are reporting a brisk trade from lunchtime throughout the afternoon. At this early stage, it would appear city publicans in places like Cork and Kilkenny were particularly busy.

“The overall reaction from publicans is very positive. Consumers are also happy so we feel the debate about Good Friday trading is over and by this time next year it will be a normal part of Irish life.

“We don’t have figures for how many pubs remained closed but those who did were primarily in rural areas of the country. The clear majority of our 4,000 members were happy to have the extra day’s trading.”

He estimated that Good Friday will have generated more than €40 million in sales for pubs throughout the State. The day will also have generated more than €7 million in VAT and excise duty contributions to the Exchequer.

James Cummins, manager of the Stag’s Head in Dublin, said trading was brisk and not unlike a normal Friday.

“We had a decent day,” he said. “Everything was good. We were busy most of the evening. It wasn’t absolutely mental, but it was nicely ticking over. Just like a normal Friday really.

“The tourists were happy. They’ve been left in the lurch in previous years so they were happy with the change and long may it continue.”

Minister of State for Justice David Stanton, introducing the Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill in January, said the restrictions on the sale of alcohol have remained largely untouched since 1922.

But “economic and social life has changed dramatically over last two decades, and tourism, changing demographics and increasing diversity has led to reduction in traditional religious practice”.

Mr Stanton said the restrictions “are no longer in tune with today’s Ireland”.