The two main representative groups, the Licensed Vintners Association (Dublin publicans) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (Outside Dublin) said they were delighted that the amendment, proposed by Independent Senator Billy Lawless, was passed in the Upper House. Both publican groups said they expect the final amendment to include all licensed premises including pubs, hotels, restaurants and off-licences.
They also welcomed the fact that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald did not seek to oppose the Bill in the Seanad but allowed the arguments to be heard and due process to take its course. They described the outcome as a vote in favour of common sense and said it would be welcomed by everyone in business and the tourism sector.
The CEO of the LVA, Donall O’Keeffe said: “This law is over 90 years old. In a modern democracy consumers should have the option to go out for a drink on Good Friday if they so choose. We are calling on the Government to take this vote on board and finally do what they and previous governments should have done years ago, namely to enact legislation abolishing the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. It’s time to consign this archaic law to history, which is where it belongs.”
Padraig Cribben, CEO, Vintners Federation of Ireland said: “We are separately calling on the Government to deal with this amendment immediately in isolation. The Good Friday ban on the sale of alcohol is a simple matter that can be dealt with effectively and speedily by the introduction of amending legislation. It does not need to be part of the Sale of Alcohol Bill which won’t come before the Dáil until later this year.”
The two groups thanked Senator Lawless for proposing the amendment as well as Senators Michael McDowell, Victor Boyhan and Gerard Craughwell who co-sponsored it.