CORK publicans say they are 'ecstatic' that the government has called time on the Good Friday drinks ban, claiming it will kick-start a great bank holiday weekend for the city.
The Dáil yesterday passed an amendment to the Intoxicating Liquor Act allowing pubs to open on Good Friday for the first time since 1927.
Con Dennehy, who runs the Venue in Ballintemple, said he understands some people may be put out by the ruling but said it has always been about giving people a choice.
“I'm ecstatic about it,” he said.
"I've been fighting for this the best part of my commercial life and while it's welcome, it's about 30 years too late. It's a crazy that it was ever there. It's a choice matter.
"Some pubs will choose to remain closed. I personally would prefer to be open because times have changed and there is a different demographic now and there are tourists about,” he added.
Benny McCabe, owner of Sin É, the Crane Lane and BDSM, said the ruling will bring extra business into the city and tourists won't be put off or disappointed by the prohibition any longer.
“I'm hopping up and down with excitement,” he said.
“It was a ridiculous rule. It did give us time to varnish our floors but that can be done on a wet Tuesday instead.
“At least English stag parties won't turn up here on Good Friday and be disappointed anymore,” he added.
Publicans had long sought the change. The only exception to the ban in 91 years came after a 2010 court ruling allowed pubs in Limerick only to open on Good Friday due to a rugby match between Leinster and Munster being scheduled on the day at Thomond Park.
It leaves Christmas Day as the only day of the year when pubs can't open.
Mr Dennehy said changing that would be a step too far for him personally, but people should have a choice.
“I would have a problem with Christmas Day opening but maybe that should be a choice too as there is a lot of lonely people out there and maybe they would like to be with friends, but that's another debate for another day," he said.
Cork TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice David Stanton said the ruling is a boost for tourism.
"Tourism makes a much greater contribution to our economy and this is particularly true during holidays, such as the busy Easter period,” he said.
"In addition changing demographics and increasing diversity in our population have led to a reduction in traditional religious practice.
"Taking all these factors into consideration the Government considered that it was an opportune time to have an examination of the Good Friday restrictions," he added.