While the national religion in Ireland may be Catholic the local religion here in Limerick is decidedly Rugby and now the two are locked together in mortal combat over the opening of public houses on the forthcoming Good Friday. The RUI (Rugby Union of Ireland) have scheduled a Munster-Leinster match to be played on the ‘holy day’ when by law no pubs are allowed to open. Over 40,000 rugby fans are expected to fill the venue on the day and the local hard-pressed Vintners are piqued that they will be unable to slake this collective thirst and take in some badly needed revenue. So the Vintners Association are making a legal challenge to the traditional ban on pub opening on Good Friday, and the issue has divided people into two camps, the traditionalists who do not want any change in the current status quo and the rugby aficionados who understandably want to enjoy a good day out.
My position on this may surprise some readers, there are just two days in the year when this country’s love-affair with alcohol is curtailed- Good Friday and Christmas Day and I can’t see any good reason to change this. I don’t think there is any religious argument to maintain the ‘sanctity’ of Good Friday as this is just another man-made concoction to annually commemorate what in truth should be a daily consideration for a follower of Jesus. Socially however I think it’s a sad day for our state if we are unable to function for two days in the year without the sale of alcohol. Why not have the RUI change the date for the game rather than railroad the courts to provide refreshments for the rugby crowd, last time I checked it is a game of sport not a life choice ! One of the Franciscan Friar Community based in Moyross has gone too far when he has condemned the playing of rugby on the day as a threat to our ‘Christian civilisation’ Last time I checked there wasn’t much of Christian civilisation’ in evidence around town, and whether or not Munster fields a team is not likely to affect the situation one way or another. But let the pubs stay shut I say and let the rugby officials come to some other arrangement to keep their fans happy, I’m for the Good Friday pint ban.