A STRABANE DUP councillor has called for a tightening of the licensing laws in the North in the wake of the Irish Government’s decision to allow bars to open on Good Friday and says if he was in charge pubs in the North would close at 10pm every night.
Easter weekend alcohol prohibition has been in place for 90 years. But now pubs in the Republic will be allowed to sell alcohol on Good Friday after the Dáil voted in favour of new legislation in a move many ministers say will be good for tourism.
However Cllr Thomas Kerrigan says he does not agree with the loosening of legislation and thinks they should actually be further restriction placed on licesees here in the North.
“I think we should be tightening the restrictions, not loosening them,” he said. “If I was in charge of the licensing laws I would be closing all the pubs at 10pm. That is ample time.
“The Good Friday licensing laws have been in place for a long time. If something is not broke then don’t fix it. I think we should stick rigidly to those laws.
“In this day and age people are almost able to drink 24 hours a day. Those three days around Easter are to remember the resurrection. People have ample time to drink the rest of the year.
“I think the licensing laws should never have been extended at all. I think all bars should close at 10pm every night.
“That is long enough time for people to be able to drink. At the minute there are few restrictions, people can now buy their liquor in an off licence. I feel that there should actually be more restrictions.
“If the pubs closed at 10pm there would be more harmony and less temptation for young people, instead of keeping pubs open to all hours of the night.”
In the south, amendments to the Intoxicating Liquor Act are expected to be signed off by President Michael D Higgins and operational before Good Friday.