Easter is a big weekend for tourism and the Pub trade is looking forward to reaping the benefits now that the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday has been lifted. However, one town in County Cork is boycotting the new ruling.

“We have only 2 days off each year – Christmas Day and Good Friday – and we want to hold onto that. It is a day publicans want to spend with their families”, said a pub manager from Newmarket who hopes that more pubs around the country will follow suit.

The Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2017 was passed in the Dáil with all-party support and will now be enacted in time for Good Friday, which this year falls on 30th March.

“It is a very significant change”, said Gillian Daly of the Licensed Vintners Association, the trade association for publicans in Dublin. “Easter is a big weekend with tourists flocking to Ireland, and a lot of them show up for the world-famous Irish pubs and are shocked to find they are not open. It has been a long wait for this.”

Easter is one of the biggest religious festivals in the Catholic calendar. Whilst introducing the bill in the Dáil, minister David Stanton said overturning the ban was a sign of “changing demographics and increasing diversity in our population”, which he said had “led to a reduction in traditional religious practice” in the country. For the past 90 years, drinkers regularly ignored the booze ban and stocked up in advance at off-licences. In addition, you could buy alcohol on Good Friday if you were on a train, on a boat, in the theatre, or staying in a hotel in Ireland.

Campaigners striving to reduce the harm done by alcohol bemoan the lifting of the ban and question why society can’t cope without alcohol for 24 hours. The Health Research Board has found that 85% of Irish people strongly believe that the current level of alcohol consumption in Ireland is too high and that there is a general perception (73%) that Irish society tolerates high levels of alcohol consumption.

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