A Circuit Court ruling announced last Friday opens the way for publicans to apply for special exemptions over the Good Friday period. President of the Circuit Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said that new legislation (Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017) meant that Good Friday shall be treated under the licensing laws the same as any other day of the week.

There was confusion over the past couple of weeks as a District Court judge refused to grant a special exemption to a Dublin pub.

The Irish Independent reports:

A judge in the Dublin District court had refused to grant a Good Friday late bar extension to the Red Cow Inn on the Naas Road, Dublin, which meant a huge back-up in similar applications pending an appeal to the Circuit Court.

The appeal was allowed today by Judge Groarke which frees publicans to obtain bar extensions in cases where there is no objection by the State authorities, including the Garda Siochana, and where all necessary legal proofs are in order.

Barrister Dorothy Collins, counsel for the Red Cow Inn, told the Circuit Civil Court that the legislation had been amended this year deleting the two words Good Friday from the 1927 Licensing Act.

“The Government’s decision means that from now on Good Friday will be treated as an ordinary day in the licensing legislation under which bar extension application may be made to the District Court,” Ms Collins said.

She said the requirement for such an application was that there has to be a special occasion such as a dance and the Red Cow and other public premises seeking extensions do hold dances.

She said that more than 40 applications before the District Court had been adjourned following the decision of the Court on Wednesday refusing a Special Exemption Order to the Red Cow.

Ms Collins told the court there had been no objection by the gardaí to the running of the event in the Red Cow.