Cork-based nuns breach Covid guidelines to attend exorcism of the Dáil

Cork-based nuns breach Covid guidelines to attend exorcism of the Dáil

Sr Irene Gibson and Sr Anne Marie attended the exorcism on December 8 at a time when inter-county travel was banned. Picture: Dan Linehan

A pair of nuns who have so far raised over €77,000 in crowdfunding after being ordered to leave a site in West Cork broke Covid guidelines to attend an exorcism of the Dáil before Christmas.

Mother Irene Gibson, of a group called the Carmelite Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus, has been ordered to leave the compound at Corran South near the village of Leap in West Cork by next June. 

That followed a 2019 conviction for breaching planning regulations in relation to the premises which she set up as a religious retreat in 2016.

She and her colleague, New Zealander Sr Anne Marie, attended the exorcism on December 8 at a time when inter-county travel was banned. 

A video has appeared online which shows the exorcism and a subsequent Mass in Herbert Park. 

The event attracted around 70 attendees despite outdoor gatherings at the time being limited to 15.

The Mass was said by Fr Giacomo Ballini, who told the crowd at the gathering that "no human power can take away the right to say Mass".

Fr Ballini is a member of The Society of St Pius Resistance, a splinter group of the controversial SSPX which was founded in 1970 by a former bishop who clashed with the Vatican over reforms.

Fr Ballini has been operating from a farmhouse in Drinagh, Co Cork.

Neither group is "in communion" with the Catholic Church and neither has sought any permission for its activities from the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

In the nuns' GoFundMe appeal, which had amassed €77,420 as of last night, they describe themselves as "zealously faithful to the True Catholic Faith according to Holy Tradition prior to Vatican II".


In one donation they were given €4,575 anonymously, while a considerable number of individual donations range from €200 to €1,000.

Earlier this month, Sr Irene posted on the GoFundMe page that the "outstanding charity toward our needs has finally made it possible for us to purchase some property". 

"How has this been possible when the children of darkness have done their utmost to try and crush us?" she wrote. 

"By spreading lies on local West Cork newspapers, on social media, and filing complaints about our fundraising campaign to local authorities, they have tried to prevent you, our benefactors, from helping us achieve our goal. 

"Yet as Holy Scripture tells us, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Cf. John 1:5. No matter how deep the darkness, it is never able to extinguish a light."

Sr Irene has not responded to a request for comment.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Let Me Tell You

Let Me Tell You is a new bespoke podcast series from 

Logo IE

Hosts Daniel McConnell and Paul Hosford take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments in recent Irish political history from the unique perspective of one of the key players involved.

Bespoke political podcast series from

Logo IE
Execution Time: 0.226 s