COMMENT: How good a measure is the lifting of the Good Friday pub opening ban?

Pat Somers

Reporter:

Pat Somers

COMMENT: How good a measure is the lifting of the Good Friday ban?

The lifting of the Good Friday ban on the sale of alcohol met with almost universally acclaim last week.

So much so that many were using it as another yardstick of how far we have come as a society.

Although reducing the only two days of the year in which alcohol is not permitted to be sold to one day is probably more a yardstick of our ambiguous relationship to drink.

There was a lot of blather vented as regards the justification for doing so.

The Good Friday ban was having a very harmful impact on the tourist industry, which is now surely set to flourish with the addition of this extra day.

Although if tourism is hinging on this one day, then it should give us pause for thought and maybe even concern.

It was also hailed it as “a progressive step in the long journey of separation between Church and State.'

Regardless of what your views on the religous dimension are, the links between Church and State have been sundered for a long time.

That journey is largely completed, and has been accomplished without this “progressive” Bill.

And anyway how progressive is a piece of legislation that feeds into and enhances the public health crisis which surrounds alcohol.

On average three people a day die as a result of alcohol abuse in Ireland.

We have had this problem for generations, and are still very much grabbling with it.

Not to mention the many social and domestic problems that accrue in so many domestic situations because of it.

But none of these issues merited much notice in the journey we took last week in giving this priority over public health legislation.

And aside from the health aspect was the retention of two days in a year in which alcohol could not be sold really that regressive to society.

If the passage of this Bill highlighted anything it was our continued immaturity and ambivalence as a society in regards to our attitude towards alcohol.

Are we a better society because of the lifting of this ban?

Hardly.

Should our national parliament be more concerned with dealing with a slew of substantive issues such has housing and Brexit.

One can only hope.