For the first time since 1927, publicans and licence holders may open their doors on “Good Friday”. The Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Act, 2018 was signed into law by President Higgins on 31st January 2018.
The effect of this legislation is to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday by removing or amending all provisions which previously imposed such restrictions. The prohibition was originally included in the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, which set out closures for three days – Good Friday, Christmas Day and St Patrick’s Day. The St Patrick’s Day ban was lifted in 1960. As of now, the only day of the year where an alcohol ban remains is Christmas Day.
As a result, the sale of alcohol on Good Friday will be allowed in pubs, hotels, off-licences, restaurants, registered clubs, holiday camps and other licensed premises. Hotels will be permitted to sell alcohol to guests at any time on Good Friday and the restriction on selling alcohol only when it is served with a meal has been lifted.
The legislation will be effective for Good Friday 2018 (March 30), marking the first time in the State's history that the sale of alcohol is legally permitted on a day which was traditionally reserved for religious services.
This change has been greatly anticipated and welcomed by publicans and licence holders who campaigned for many years to have the ban lifted. It is believed that licensed premises are likely to enjoy an estimated 30% increase in revenue during Easter week.