A round-up of Easter Licensing social media ire

A round-up of Easter Licensing social media ire

This is just a sample of course, from those of us in Northern Ireland who are sick, tired & embarrassed of our Easter opening hours.     And here’s one of many bars that will have had to close due to the opening hours…   Of course the views of the general public seems fairly obvious… Industry body Hospitality Ulster was on the case all weekend, sharing messages from its members calling for normalisation of the hours…...
#BlameMervyn – Easter 2015 / 1715

#BlameMervyn – Easter 2015 / 1715

Everyone has their thing, their “if I was Prime Minister I would…”, mine is Easter Licensing. Except it’s more than that, it’s institutionalising one faith over that of another, enshrining the rights of the few to be of more importance than the rights of the rest. Yes, I have worked in the hospitality industry for a long time and it affects me and “us” but I can’t foresee a time where it doesn’t bother me so much that I have to do what I can to highlight it and hope that some day, enact change.   Alcohol, that’s what it tends to come down to, when discussing this issue with a pro-restriction supporter, reducing such an expansive issue to its lowest common denominator, is that enough of an argument to make, that alcohol is bad, it’s controlled, it’s addictive etc etc. No, of course it isn’t, if that was the case then alcohol would be banned, instead of having an arbitrary restriction placed on it for a particular religiously significant period. So, for those who aren’t aware, here are the restrictions.     Thursday (Before Easter Friday) Alcohol can be sold as normal throughout the day, but must cease by 11pm, unless a late extension license exists, when it must not be sold after midnight. (Many bars and all nightclubs have this extension, generally speaking, if a bar opens until 1am or later at a weekend, it has a late extension of their license)     Good Friday   ON-SALES (for consumption on premises)   Alcohol can ONLY be sold between 5pm and 11pm. There are no late licenses...
Easter is Easter. Christianity ruins it for everyone

Easter is Easter. Christianity ruins it for everyone

Everyone has their thing, their “if I was Prime Minister I would…”, mine is Easter Licensing. Except it’s more than that, it’s institutionalising one faith over that of another, enshrining the rights of the few to be of more importance than the rights of the rest. Yes, I have worked in the hospitality industry for a long time and it affects me and “us” but I can’t foresee a time where it doesn’t bother me so much that I have to do what I can to highlight it and hope that some day, enact change.   Alcohol, that’s what it tends to come down to, when discussing this issue with a pro-restriction supporter, reducing such an expansive issue to its lowest common denominator, is that enough of an argument to make, that alcohol is bad, it’s controlled, it’s addictive etc etc. No, of course it isn’t, if that was the case then alcohol would be banned, instead of having an arbitrary restriction placed on it for a particular religiously significant period. So, for those who aren’t aware, here are the restrictions.     Thursday (Before Easter Friday) Alcohol can be sold as normal throughout the day, but must cease by 11pm, unless a late extension license exists, when it must not be sold after midnight. (Many bars and all nightclubs have this extension, generally speaking, if a bar opens until 1am or later at a weekend, it has a late extension of their license)     Good Friday   ON-SALES (for consumption on premises)   Alcohol can ONLY be sold between 5pm and 11pm. There are no late licenses...
What are they drinking up at Stormont?

What are they drinking up at Stormont?

This will come as no surprise to many of you…but I’m in the business of selling booze. I sell food too, but more than 50% of the turnover of my business, is Alcohol. (Thats not my Bar Back, but it is a great one) What may surprise some people, is that there is a bar at Stormont Assembly Buildings. A Members Bar so to speak, which essentially means that not just anybody can stroll in for a double vodka and red bull, you have to be with somebody who is accredited to be there. I was in it a while back when meeting with an MLA, I chose not to hit the drink, just a glass of water for me…but there it was in all its glory. I had gone up the hill with the aim of seeing what the opinion was of my campaign and ascertain if I could get any traction, and if I could, who with…and the MLA collected me from the foyer, and brought me here…It wasn’t the worlds most elaborate bar…I’m not sure they had any Boston Shakers or Galway Bay – Of Foam & Fury…I’m not actually sure they had much at all..but they did have the basics which I suppose does the job for them. I didn’t engage the MLA about the bar beyond my initial surprise, when so many members of the dominant political party treat alcohol as if it were the Unspoken 11th Plague of Egypt (Smear Buckfast above your doorway before dusk to be spared the reckoning..), I expected a dry building. I did figure that there would be...
#BlameNelson to become #BlameMervyn ??

#BlameNelson to become #BlameMervyn ??

I’ll be honest…I’m not sure I like “#BlameMervyn” as a hashtag…it doesnt have the…gravitas. But perhaps in time, I have not yet any direct reason to feel personally aggrieved by Minister Storey. I have some absolutely fundamental differences with his viewpoints…on probably every issue up for discussion, however I have not yet heard his opinion on Easter Licensing clarified, so instead of assuming that just because: He is in the Knights of Malta He is Vice Chairman of the Caleb Foundation He is a Creationist (<- Definitely worth clicking that link….) He objected to an exhibition at the Ulster Museum on evolution, and insisted they have creationist exhibits as well He objected to signs at the Giants Causeway stating that it was “millions of years old”…I presume he subscribes to the Finn McCool theory So yes, despite these …differences of opinion that I would have with Minister Storey, I felt it best to get his view on the issue. So I have sent him an email: Dear Sir, I am writing as an interested party to the easter licensing law reform that your ministerial predecessor, Nelson McCausland had set out. I have been campaigning on this issue for some time now and am interested to see what your current stand point on this is. Do you intend to keep to Nelson McCauslands original alterations or are you open to further consultation/research on the topic? As a bar manager in the hospitality industry, it is my view that the current easter weekend legislation is discriminatory towards those who do not choose to observe easter as a religious holiday. A great many...

#BlameNelson – FOI Request response #1

As I previously blogged about, I sent a freedom of information request to the DSD social policy unit with multiple questions, I received the following response:         Dear Mr [REDACTED]   Date: 4 August 2014       Freedom of Information Act 2000   I refer to your request under the above legislation for information held by this Department about proposed changes to liquor licensing law in Northern Ireland.   I have considered your request and have dealt with the following section of your email under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:   What research has the minister and his department undertaken to ascertain the financial impact of:   A: Increasing the Thursday of Easter closing time from midnight until 1am on Friday morning   B: Increasing the Saturday of Easter closing time from midnight until 1am on Sunday morning   C: What would be the expected increase in HMRC revenue (through National Insurance & Income Tax, and keeping part time workers above the line required to claim income support) by standardizing Good Friday in line with any other Friday of the year(highlighting reduced trade in restaurants for lunch, bars closing at 11pm and nightclubs not opening at all)   D: What would be the expected increase in HMRC revenue (through National Insurance & Income Tax, and keeping part time workers above the line required to claim income support) by standardizing Easter Sunday in line with any other Sunday of the year (highlighting the ban upon alcohol being sold through off-sales and subsequently off sales remaining closed for the entire day)   I am writing to...