IBDI letter to the Irish Independent on Good Friday and alcohol: What is wrong with tradition?

21 Jan 2016

I refer to the ‘Scrapping Good Friday drinks ban a no-brainer’ (January 19) article, and your balanced editorial. In a rapidly changing world, should we not be wary of extinguishing, in haste, a unique Irish Christian tradition?

Good Friday is a day when Christians of all denominations throughout the world take time to reflect on the Passion and death of Christ.

On Good Friday, Catholics are asked to share in that sacrifice through the traditional practices of prayer, the veneration of the Cross and through fast and abstinence.
Many people in Ireland participate in these practices and enter into the spirit of Lent, Good Friday and Easter – the latter being the most important feast of the Christian calendar. This is often undertaken by abstaining from alcohol.

The sale of alcohol on Good Friday is an annual public debate, and it is an issue on which Christians can make up their own minds based on an informed conscience.
However, it is true to say that each year we can enjoy Christmas Day without pubs being open. As your editorial suggests, maintaining the ban on alcohol sales has not, and will not, stop ‘the world on its axis’.

This issue is driven by a hidden reality, the objective of which is about bolstering the financial bottom line rather than serving the common good.

Instead of allowing alcohol set the social agenda by attempting to black out aspects of our national character, is it not timely to take a stand against the pervasive, relentless and insidious public relations campaigning of the drinks industry?

Darren Butler
Irish Bishops’ Drugs & Alcohol Initiative Columba Centre, Maynooth