Public worship under consideration for latest easing of Covid restrictions-Taoiseach

Archbishop Eamon Martin met with the Health Minister yesterday to express his concern over the rule banning religious services. 
Public worship under consideration for latest easing of Covid restrictions-Taoiseach

Limited attendances at funerals has been a deep source of anguish for many. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Taoiseach has indicated religious services could resume in public in some form next month.

The Government is set to unveil its plans for a further reopening of society next week.

Non-essential retail and personal services like hairdressers are being examined to see if they can reopen in May.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Micheál Martin also said Mass and other religious services could be back in some form.

"We will be looking at a range of issues, personal services, religious services for example, where we did indicate under Level 5, and it has been consistent under Level 5 there has been no gatherings for religious worship bar funerals, and that's very difficult for many, many people," said Mr Martin. 

Pressure to resume religious services and expand the number of people allowed to attend funerals has been growing in recent days. 

Yesterday, Archbishop Eamon Martin has raised deep concerns over a rule banning religious services during a meeting with the health minister.

Stephen Donnelly spoke with the archbishop about a statutory instrument, which aims to prohibit 'specified events' as part of Covid measures, that came into force last week.

The archbishop said the vital pastoral work of priests should be respected and deemed ​essential, rather than subject to penal sanction.

He reiterated the church’s support for the protection of health, life and for the common good and he emphasised the importance of respecting and sustaining people’s spiritual wellbeing alongside their physical and mental health.

For people of faith, he said, this is deemed essential.

Last month, a priest in Co Cavan received a fine, understood to be €500, for celebrating mass with people present.

Fr PJ Hughes in Mullahoran was given the fixed penalty notice after being reported to Gardaí.

Writing in a parish bulletin after the fine, Fr Hughes said he had been "reported again" and had been issued a fine because he celebrated mass with people present.

"I will exercise my constitutional right even though people are complaining, even though I am not obeying my bishop when I go against his advice," he wrote.

Earlier this month, the Cavan priest said faith in God will help Ireland defeat Covid-19 faster than science so resuming Mass was a public health necessity. 

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-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.

Puzzles logo
IE-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.