CORK publicans say it’s about time the Good Friday alcohol ban was abolished, as the legislation moves towards ending the traditional "dry day".
A Bill was passed in the Seanad recently after the government made changes to ensure the new law will allow pubs, not just hotels, serve alcohol on Good Friday.
The next step is for the legislation to be put before the Dáil where local publicans hope it will be passed.
“It’s about time this has been done - it’s a 90-year-old law that's there and Ireland has changed a lot,” said Michael O’Donovan, secretary of the Cork branch of the Vintners Federation Of Ireland.
The Castle Inn owner is a spokesperson for the almost 700 publicans in the Cork.
“At least people now will have the choice - if they want to go out and have a drink on Good Friday they should be able to go out and do that.”
Mr O’Donovan said a campaign was started to have the ban lifted in 2011 and it was proposed at an AGM of the VFI in 2012.
“We’re probably 50-60% of the way there and we’ve come a long way in the last 15 months.
“It’s an important trading weekend falling when it does on Easter weekend so it’s perfect for us; every opportunity to trade is a must nowadays.”
Thomond Bar owner Ray Kennedy agreed with Mr O'Donovan, saying: “I think it’s a great thing and it's about time that we move forward.
“For me, it was a bit hypocritical, all people were doing really was stocking up on drink the night before and having big parties at home on a Thursday, in an uncontrolled environment and it was going totally in excess.”
Con Dennehy, owner of The Venue bar in Ballintemple has been campaigning for changes to be made for about 15 years and says his words had fallen on “deaf ears”.
“Now I see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope the government will see sense - there is no rationale for this ban in 2017, there was never, but especially not in 2017," said Con.
“Research shows that one of the top reasons tourists come to Ireland is for the Irish pubs, there are other things obviously but the biggest attraction is the Irish pubs and then you find you’ve plane and shop-loads of people coming in and they can't get into an Irish pub, it’s ridiculous.
“Hopefully we’ve seen the last Good Friday that we’ll be closed, in 2017," he added.