Archbishop Diarmuid Martin hits out at 50-person limit in churches

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin has said it was unfair to have a “one size fits all” rule in relation to the number of people who can attend church.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin hits out at 50-person limit in churches
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was responding to the Government's recent easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions particularly with regard to indoor gathering limits for larger churches. Picture: Don Moloney
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was responding to the Government's recent easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions particularly with regard to indoor gathering limits for larger churches. Picture: Don Moloney

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin has said it was unfair to have a “one size fits all” rule in relation to the number of people who can attend church.

Some churches in the diocese of Dublin are so small that they would not 50 people while others could fit 1,500, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“We've worked very hard to prepare churches - to put signage, to arrange stewarding, to ensure there is very little interaction and if you've got a church 1,500 people and only 50 people are allowed to enter, it is surprising.

“We have to find a way in which you have some relationship between the size of the church and the number of people who will come. Now, I'm not advocating huge numbers, I believe, particularly in the early period, the next three weeks, we should allow this time to settle in so that we can be comfortable with these are managed.

But I do believe that compared to other situations and what you see, for example, retail outlets brimming with people, that this is unfair also to the extraordinary effort that has been put in by priests and people in preparing churches.

“All I can see is we need to find some sort of way there can be some proportion to the size of the church - I would be against very large gatherings.

“Believers have been very, very patient over the last few months. People have a right to be able to attend worship.” The archbishop said he thought there was room to be flexible especially with very large churches.

David Pierrepoint, Church of Ireland archdeacon of Dublin agreed with archbishop Martin pointing out with some large churches like Christchurch Cathedral it would be unfair to make “someone at the door with a clicker machine” telling people they could not enter once the figure of 50 had been reached.

One size did not fit all, he said.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up