Friday 24 November 2017

Pubs to fight Good Friday ban as rugby clashes loom

VOW: We will open if Leinster or Munster are playing

DUBLIN publicans have vowed to fight "full force" to overturn the Good Friday booze ban if Leinster are playing that day.

Leinster and Munster fans were awaiting anxiously to learn whether their sides would be scheduled for the knockout stages of the Heineken cup on April 6.

Two years ago, three of the strongest influences on Irish society -- religion, alcohol and sport -- clashed on Good Friday.

The doors to 100 pubs in Limerick swung open on Good Friday in 2010 after publicans banded together and successfully applied to the local district court for an area exemption.

A much anticipated Magners' League clash between Munster and Leinster was drawing thousands to the city and the publican's successfully argued that they could provide food, hospitality, a safe place to watch the match and toilet facilities to the throngs.

The game at Thomond Park was a sell-out and Leinster brought an estimated 7,000 fans south for the occasion, with all enjoying the festivities across the city.

A number of determined Dublin publicans told the Herald today that they will make a similar application to the courts if Leinster are drawn to play on April 6 this year.


Ian Tucker, co-owner of the Exchequer bar in Dublin City, said: "We would 100pc be behind a move to change the status quo. Leinster and Munster games are huge occasions for us and be forced to close is just archaic.

"There is very much a mixed culture these days. This rule is based on Catholic values and while we very much respect that, it needs to be taken into account that so many different nationalities live in Dublin now.

"The Leinster and Munsters Heineken Cup matches are going to be spectacular. We believe people should be entitled to go out to a bar and enjoy the games over a few pints with friends if they wish."

Hugh Hourican, owner of the Boars Head on Capel Street, said publicans would fight to be allowed to open.

"Things have been very tough for pubs since Christmas and to expect us to close on what could be on the busiest days of our year is simply ridiculous. The days of closing on Good Friday must become a thing of the past. Whether it's Leinster, Munster or Connacht playing, we are packed out.

"I'll definitely fight full force to change things if fixtures fall on Good Friday."

Mr Hourican's comments were reiterated by Jenny Chawke, manager of The Goat Inn in South Dublin.

She told the Herald: "We absolutely would support any coming together to allow us to open on Good Friday if Leinster or Munster are playing. Sports fans must be accommodated on an occasion like a Heineken Cup game."

And Alex Cordero, manager of Slattery Pubs in Dublin 4 said: "Any move to open on Good Friday for the rugby would be brilliant and would definitely have our support. However we do respect that this is just one day and for many it is a day of rest."

The city pub owners will be backed up by their Munster counterparts.

Proprietor of The White House pub in Limerick Glen McLoughlin said this morning said no pubs should have to remain closed on Good Friday.

"Two years ago, it was absolutely fantastic. There was a great atmosphere in every pub around the town -- anyone who was down here could see that for themselves," he said.

Paddy Kelly of Charlie Malone's on Wolfe Tone Street said if the match is fixed for Good Friday, publicans will be applying for another area exemption.

"It will have to be done -- make no mistake about it," Mr Kelly said.


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