The Restaurants Association of Ireland today condemned the ban of alcohol sales on Good Friday, saying that the law is unacceptable at such a busy time for the tourism, restaurant and hospitality industry.
Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins said that the law is not only affecting our image abroad, but business internally aswell.
“The restaurant sector is the biggest employer within the hospitality industry, employing over 64,000 people- this law affects more than just the diners who want a drink, it affects thousands of people on a busy weekend when restaurants simply won’t open. Aside from the law showing a 19th-Century image of Ireland to incoming tourists, many restaurants decide to close their doors on Good Friday.
“Ireland must be the only country in the world that has a bank holiday weekend and actually chooses to close the tourist attractions it is best known for- the centres of craic and ceol- the restaurants and gastropubs of the country. Even the Vatican City doesn’t obey this ridiculous law.”
Mr. Cummins is highlighting the restaurateurs frustration as several greyhound stadia around Ireland have been granted licenses to serve alcohol on Good Friday. The legislation also provides certain other exemptions- allowing the sale of alcohol to those travelling by sea, rail, air or ferry.
People can also be sold alcohol while attending a licensed theatre, a national cultural institution or guests staying in a licensed premises, such as a hotel, as long as it is with a meal.
Cummins highlighted, “These businesses are working the law and using it to their advantage- why shouldn’t restaurants? It’s tough for all businesses relying on customers to part with their well-earned cash on a long weekend. They cannot afford to open without serving alcohol, and they definitely cannot afford to close either.
“In 2009, Judge Mary Fahy said prosecuting restaurants which offered wine with meals on Good Friday was ‘ludicrous’ in today’s world. During a hearing in Galway District Court, she decided not to record convictions against nine restaurants that had done this,” he concluded.