Party calls for public holiday to compensate bar workers if Good Friday alcohol ban is lifted

The Workers' Party has proposed a new public holiday to compensate bar and off licence workers for the proposed end to the Good Friday alcohol ban.

It comes after legislation, the Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017, was introduced today in the Seanad and will come before the Upper House next week.

The bill is expected to supply "streamlined and updated provisions more suited to modern conditions," around alcohol and is aimed mainly at pubs.

Councillor Éilis Ryan of the Workers' Party said that while the Party welcomed any expansion of secularism in Ireland, the impact of a lifting of the Good Friday ban could be negative for workers in bars and off licences.

She said: "The Workers' Party wants a truly secular republic, and this includes getting rid of the historic influence of the Catholic Church on our licensing laws. However, we must ensure that this does not lead to lower holiday entitlements for workers.

"We are already seeing workers suffer a gradual but persistent erosion of compensation for Sunday and public holiday working hours. These changes affect low paid retail and hospitality staff most."

Councillor Ryan said that a new public holiday should be instated in place of the Good Friday ban.

She said: "Ireland has one of the lowest number of public holidays in the country.

"A new public holiday be introduced which would ensure all workers receive either a day off, or proper compensation for working that day, if and when the Good Friday ban is lifted.

"Secularising our country should not come at the expense of workers' pockets."

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