"Access to public worship must not be denied beyond December 1,” says Offaly TD

Karen O'Grady

Reporter:

Karen O'Grady

Email:

news@midlandtribune.ie

"Access to public worship must not be denied beyond 1st December,” says Offaly TD

Deputy Carol Nolan

Calls were made for the Government to "firmly commit" to the reopening of all churches and places of worship as soon as Level 5 restrictions end on December 1.

  Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan said the government’s decision to criminalise priests, ministers and parishioner’s who attempted to provide or engage in physical access to the celebration of the mass was entirely disproportionate and could no longer be tolerated:

“I have been contacted by a great many people who are genuinely distressed at the ongoing failure of government to allow physical attendance at mass. They look at recent cases like that of the Fr PJ Hughes, who was threatened with fines and possible criminalisation for daring to allow a small number of social distanced believers to attend his celebration of the Eucharist and they are stunned."

"They simply cannot understand why such severe and draconian penalties were put in place when there was every evidence available that churches were some of the most responsible organisers in terms of infection control measures. Churches and other places of worship must be allowed to re-open and I have written to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to make that very point."

"The way the churches and believers in Ireland have been treated is completely disgraceful. It is also totally out of line with the far more nuanced and common sense approach that has been adopted in other European states. We need an urgent dose of that common sense to prevail here sooner rather than later,” concluded Deputy Nolan.