An Irish TD has criticised the Irish parliament after it voted in favour of lifting a 90-year ban on pubs selling alcohol on Good Friday.
The Dáil has passed legislation to allow the sale of alcohol on the holy day as Minister of State David Stanton said removing the ban would help Irish 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 as he introduced the bill.
“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.”
However, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan raised her concerns over a society that seems unable to function without alcohol for 24 hours. She also pointed out that the bill went against the Government’s policy of trying to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.
“Are we saying that the only tourists we want are those who can’t last 24 hours without buying a drink in a public house,” she said.
“With this bill what message are we sending out? I actually think we could do with a few Good Fridays throughout the year.”
Meanwhile, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA), an international organisation for Roman Catholic teetotallers based in Ireland, said it was disappointed by the news.
“For almost a century the majority of Irish people have approved a self-denying ordinance in honour of one of the most significant events of world history, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, regarded by members of all Christian denominations as the Universal Saviour of the human race,” James Shevlin, president of PTAA, told The Universe.
Since 1927, Good Friday has been one of only two days of the year when publicans have been obliged to keep their shutters down, the other being Christmas Day.
The new law will give all licensed premises the right to open.
Picture: A view of a pint of Guinness in a Dublin pub. (Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA).