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Alcohol to be sold legally on Good Friday in Ireland for the first time

For years bemused and often frustrated tourists to Ireland have wandered the streets of Dublin in search of a pint on Good Friday.

Most unaware that alcohol sales have been banned in pubs and shops on the holy day since 1927.

But this year for the first time in Ireland’s history people will be able to legally drink in pubs on Good Friday after the Irish Parliament voted to lift the ban.

The sale of alcohol will also be allowed in hotels, off-licences, restaurants, registered clubs, holiday camps and other licensed premises.

The government which introduced the legalisation said the “economic and social life has changed dramatically over last two decades, and tourism, changing demographics and increasing diversity has led to a reduction in traditional religious practice”.


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Irish Minister of State for Justice, David Stanton said the restrictions “are no longer in tune with today’s Ireland”.

Figures suggested there was a spike in alcohol sales on the Thursday before every Good Friday.

A prohibition on selling alcohol on St Patrick’s Day was removed in the 1960s because it affected tourism but a ban remains in place for Christmas Day.

An opposition spokesman described the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday as “an anti-republican measure”.

And while prohibition was originally introduced as a sign of religious respect, its removal is viewed as a further sign of the weakening influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

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“There is nothing mandatory about this, but people who may not be religious or who are religious but don’t feel they should be banned,” said Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan.

It follows a 2015 referendum in support of same-sex marriage and is ahead of an expected plebiscite on abortion later this year.

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