Hotels and restaurants must be included in any change to Good Friday alcohol law – Noone

-   Senator Catherine Noone

Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Wednesday) said that hotels and restaurants must be included in any change to the law banning alcohol sales on Good Friday. Senator Noone was speaking today (Wednesday) as the Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017 was debated in the Seanad.

“The Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017 proposes to permit the sale of intoxicating liquor in off-licences and pubs on Good Friday; however it would not remove the restriction in respect of restaurants. Restaurants are currently not included in the Bill, and there is little clarification for hotels.

“Excluding restaurants from the provisions of the Bill would in part defeat the purpose of Bill, which is to re-examine and update our current legislation to better suit contemporary Ireland, particularly with regards to tourism and the economy. Moreover, it would create unfair trading conditions between pubs and restaurants.

“Additionally, it would potentially discriminate against the sale of intoxicating liquor in public houses which happen to operate as restaurants under a special restaurant licence.

“Furthermore, the detail of the Bill with regards to hotels has yet to be clarified. In my view this is an important aspect of the Bill. Hotels are an integral part of our tourism sector and we need to produce legislation that will allow them to operate fairly and equally with other premises.

“Ireland has developed considerably since the Intoxicating Liquor Act was passed into law in 1927, economically and socially.

“The tourism sector has grown significantly, making a greater contribution to the economy, while the Irish population has become more diverse and less inclined to practice religion. These developments merit the re-examination of the current Good Friday rules.

“Although the Government does not oppose the principle of the Bill, there are a number of details and complexities, such as the exclusion of hotels and restaurants from the Bill, which must be addressed in order to avoid unfair trading conditions.”

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