Archbishop expresses "deep concerns" on restrictions to Stephen Donnelly

Archbishop expresses "deep concerns" on restrictions to Stephen Donnelly

James Cox

Archbishop Eamon Martin has said the church is seeking legal advice regarding the restrictions on gatherings which effectively prevent the holding of public worship.

The archbishop held a meeting with the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly today to express concerns about the ban.

While repeating the church's support for the protection of health and life, Archbishop Martin also stressed the importance of people's spiritual and mental health.


Minister Donnelly said the relevant Statutory Instrument was not intended to single out worship but was designed to regulate indoor and outdoor gatherings that might pose a risk from Covid-19.

The Government insists an adjustment to laws around large gatherings was a technical issue that required to be addressed, rather than specifically targetting places of worship.

It follows strong criticism of the move by Church leaders, who described it as provocative.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee insists a statutory instrument that was updated, aimed to regularise the law for all gatherings.


Minister McEntee said: “Unfortunately Covid-19 doesn't differentiate or distinguish whether you're in a park, whether you're in a county hall, whether you're in a home where there is a large gathering of people. We know that the virus spreads much more quickly where you're indoors, with gatherings of people, and that is why those measures are currently in place.”

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