LONDON -- “Publicans” are the people who own and manage pubs in Ireland, and for the last 90 years, it has been illegal for them to sell alcohol on Good Friday.
Publicans have estimated they lose tens of millions of euros by closing on Good Friday, according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).
Earlier this year the Irish parliament voted in favor of new legislation that would put an end to alcohol prohibition on the Easter holiday.
Parliament members in favor of the bill hope that it would boost Irish tourism over Easter, while critics argued a 24-hour ban on drinking in pubs was good for the public health.
Prohibition has usually meant that house parties have become something of an Irish Easter tradition to get around the ban.
Today, however, won’t be the first Good Friday where pubs have been open to the public.
In 2010, publicans in Limerick were granted exemption to open for business on Good Friday due to a rugby match at Thomond Park between Munster and Leinster – Ireland’s biggest rugby rivals from Limerick and Dublin respectively.
The stadium was granted a special license allowing the 26,000 spectators to buy drinks during the match, while nearby pubs were allowed last-minute to open for business.
“It is somewhat absurd that pubs in the locality should be closed when there will be available to 26,000 people the possibility to buy alcohol, if they so wish, in Thomond Park,” the judge who ruled in favor of the exemption said at the time.