This year, for the first time in more than 90 years, it will be legal to purchase alcohol here in Ireland today, Good Friday. Every year, the discussion comes up: “Should alcohol be available on Good Friday?” or more commonly, “Should the pubs be allowed to open on Good Friday?”
The answer is yes.
Now, whenever this question is raised, particularly on social media, there are always the same arguments for keeping the alcohol ban.
1) “Those poor souls that work in pubs/those poor pub owners, do they not deserve the day off?”
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. People who work in pubs are guaranteed the same number of days off each year as every other worker. Many people work on Good Friday. I was working today.
Also, if the pub owners wish, they can close their business. They are not being forced to open, they are just not being forced to close.
2) “Ah here, can people not go one day of the year without drinking?”
Yes, they can. But that’s not the issue. How about this: we select a random day and prohibit watching TV or using the Internet for that day. People would be outraged. Of course they could go a day without those things, but the infuriating thing is being forced. Now imagine the reason behind this law is to follow a religion you don’t believe in and you will understand how ridiculous the ban is to non-Catholics. And there are many of us living here.
Secondly, I guarantee you that prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Good Friday actually makes more people drink on Good Friday.
I don’t drink. But this week, every year, I am tempted to buy alcohol before Good Friday “just in case”. I don’t drink, but knowing that I wouldn’t be able to makes me feel the need to stock up beforehand. I know many people who rarely drink who do the exact same thing.
The entire reason people didn’t like this archaic law was because it was taking away our right to choose. If I want to choose to drink on this particular day, I should be allowed to. I may or may not, but it should be my decision. If you are a Catholic, you should be able to choose how devoutly you follow the bible. Eating meat on sacred days is frowned upon, but not illegal. Why not?
The fact that this law has existed for so long is a slap in the face to all non-Catholic people living in this country. As an atheist, I should not be forced to adhere to someone else’s religious beliefs, the same way a Catholic person wouldn’t be asked to follow the teachings of Islam. And saying that “Oh well Ireland is a Catholic country, if you don’t like it, leave” is another huge slap in the face to non-Catholics living here.
We’re living in the 21st century, religion should hold no power over the laws of this country. The fact that this law has been repealed gives me hope that religion is slowly losing its grip on our country.
Here’s to history.