Now pubs want us drinking even later on Good Friday
A test case has been brought to ensure pubs in Dublin will be granted late bar extensions to serve alcohol after normal closing times on Good Friday.
In January, legislation amending the Intoxicating Liquor Act was passed, allowing pubs and other licensed premises across the country to open and legally serve alcohol on the religious holiday for the first time in almost 100 years.
However, after the lifting of the booze ban, a Good Friday agreement is now being sought over special exemption applications for late bars in Dublin on the holy day, which falls on March 30.
They have been adjourned pending a decision by Judge Michael Coghlan at Dublin District Court.
Dorothy Collins BL, for the Red Cow Inn on the Naas Road, Dublin 22, told the court that its application was being treated as a "test case". It was supported by the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and if it was refused an appeal would be launched.
In the Red Cow Inn's case, the application was for a special exemption order to run from Good Friday into the early hours of Saturday, March 31.
The barrister furnished the court with a copy of the recent amendment to the Intoxicating Liquor Act, which has deleted any reference to Good Friday and she said that it was now "deemed to be an ordinary Friday".
The application had the support of the LVA, Judge Coghlan was told.
Ms Collins said 110 premises had similar applications pending for special exemption orders and the majority of them related to Good Friday.
She submitted that it was an extremely important holiday for Dublin, particularly in relation to tourists, and the legislature had now decided that it was no different in law from any other day.
She furnished the court with a letter from the LVA pleading with the court to grant the applications. The LVA stated in its submission: "Our rationale was that Good Friday should be treated like a normal Friday from a licensing perspective."
Judge Coghlan said he was going to have to "look at the law and I will be able to distil my views in approximately a week hence". There was no Garda objection to the application.
The case related only to licensed premises in Dublin.