Pubs staying open on Good Friday in Ireland is believed to have generated more than €40m (£35m) in sales, according to one estimate. 

It was the first time that people were allowed to drink alcohol legally in pubs in 90 years and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland believe it had a significant impact on the sector, saying it stood by a previous projection of €40m sales.

The federation said they believed keeping pubs open on Good Friday also generated more than €7m in VAT and excise duty contributions to the Exchequer as it st.

Vintners’ Federation of Ireland chief executive, Padraig Cribben, said that many people visited due to the novelty factor of visiting a pub on Good Friday. 

 “Our members are reporting a brisk trade from lunchtime throughout the afternoon. At this early stage, it would appear city publicans in places like Cork and Kilkenny were particularly busy,” Mr Cribben told the Irish Times.

“The overall reaction from publicans is very positive. Consumers are also happy so we feel the debate about Good Friday trading is over and by this time next year it will be a normal part of Irish life.

“We don’t have figures for how many pubs remained closed but those who did were primarily in rural areas of the country. The clear majority of our 4,000 members were happy to have the extra day’s trading.”

There were a number of critics when discussions started to change the law, with some arguing the alteration would undermine the government’s goal of reducing harm caused by alcohol. 

Irish MP Maureen O’Sullivan said she believed that more days without alcohol were needed throughout the year, not less. 

She told the BBC: “Are we saying that the only tourists we want are those who can’t last 24 hours without buying a drink in a public house?”