Communions and confirmations should not go ahead, says Government

A spokesperson confirmed the ceremonies should not take place under the new Covid guidance
Communions and confirmations should not go ahead, says Government

A Government spokesperson said religious ceremonies such as baptisms, first holy communions, and confirmations should not take place at this time. File picture: Getty

Baptisms, communions, and confirmations should not go ahead until further notice, the Government has clarified.

During the press conference following the Taoiseach's announcement that the return of indoor dining was to be postponed, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said religious ceremonies were also to be delayed, scuppering plans for events due to take place as early as the coming days.

However, the first edition of the new government guidance did not include specific mention of the religious celebrations, leading to Tipperary priest Fr Michael Toomey to say he would be driving ahead with the ceremonies. 

The administrator of the parishes of Ardfinnan, Ballybacon and Grange, and Newcastle said on Twitter that he would not be following the “off the cuff” statement by Mr Varadkar.

The Waterford and Lismore parish had advised that communions and confirmations could go ahead from next week, but said that this date was "provisional". 

A statement from the diocese of Ferns said that the Masses should not be celebrated.

The disappointment of candidates and their families is acknowledged by the diocese as is the genuine good work and preparation that has been undertaken throughout the year by teachers, priests, catechists, and parish teams.

"The ongoing Covid compliant measures in place in our churches and the huge number of volunteers who assist weekly in our parishes, is also acknowledged at this time."

A Government spokesperson told the Irish Examiner:"It is advised that religious ceremonies such as baptisms, first holy communions, and confirmations should not take place at this time. 

"Further advice will follow on resumption of these ceremonies when it is safe to do so."

The issue was raised in the Dáil by Independent TD Mattie McGrath who said the Government was "victimising churches".

"Why is the Government victimising the churches again? Nowhere in the statement yesterday or the paperwork does it say communions and confirmations cannot go ahead. Yet, the Tánaiste has said they cannot."

In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that his "only concern and motivation is to protect people" and that he "did not want to be shutting things down".

Mass sizes and those allowed to attend funerals remains at 50.

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