New Regulations Could See Public Worshippers Fined Or Imprisoned

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Archbishop Eamon Martin (Image: catholicbishops.ie)

The Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly have met to discuss the publication of a Statutory Instrument which affects public worship.

The new regulation could see people receive a fine of €127 or up to six months in prison for attending specified events. Archbishop Martin told Minister Donnelly there were concerns expressed with regard to the criminalising of leading, and gathering for, public worship at this time in Ireland, despite the consistent support from the churches for public health messaging since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to a statement issued by the Catholic Communications Office, 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 well-being alongside their physical and mental health.

For people of faith, he added, this is deemed essential. Mr Donnelly had what has been described as a “good meeting” with Archbishop Martin and Monsignor Joseph McGuinness and said that the dialogue would continue and that consideration would be given to early re-opening of public worship in accordance with public health advice in the coming weeks. The Archbishop said that he will meet with the other Archbishops to brief them on the meeting.

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