From top: Professor Oran Doyle (above) and the Irish Times yesterday

“I assure the Deputy and other colleagues that with regard to penalties, religious services are non-penal in that there is no penalty attached to them.”

Minister for Health Stepehen Donnelly in the Dáil on Thursday, October 22, 2020

‘A priest in a Co Cavan parish says he has no intention of paying a €500 fine imposed on him for saying Mass publicly and he intends continuing to do so despite the ban on public worship under pandemic restrictions.

Cavan priest vows to continue saying Mass despite fine, Irish Times, March 24


Yesterday, during a podcast hosted by the COVID-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory, Oran Doyle, a professor in law at Trinity College Dublin asked:

“Why is The Irish Times, after the Minister for Health has confirmed in the Dail that religious services are not prohibited, happily reporting stories about priests being prosecuted for holding religious services, or threatened with prosecution for holding religious services?

“Do journalists not like, do they have the attention span of a goldfish that they can’t remember that somebody writing on exactly the same issue they were researching has just two weeks ago published an unequivocal Government statement that this is legally compliant, that they might put in a cross-reference in their article? No.

…”why aren’t there clarificatory statements from the Minister for Health to The Irish Times, ‘Editor, you have reported that, I just want to clarify this is not permitted’.  Why is a message not being sent from the Minister for Justice to the Garda Commissioner? ‘We see reports of police threatening prosecution for thing that are not prohibited and it’s Government policy not to prohibit them legally. Please clarify to all gardai that these matters are not prohibited.’ But there’s no evidence of that having taken place.

“…I think it’s, frankly, it’s outrageous.”

Listen to podcast here

Yesterday: Take Me To Mass

Previously: Mass Delusion


This morning.

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18 thoughts on “Religulous

  1. wasntmeguard

    if i get ordained on the internet, can they open the pubs and allow people to come listen to me say mass?
    think plenty will take these loopholes.

  2. Orla

    Wow the snark is high with these comments. Regardless of your views of religion, would you not be a bit concerned that the gardai are trying to enforce laws that do not exist! That’s a bit something …

      1. Orla

        Ok once again- the gardai are trying to enforce laws that do not exist. Where else are they doing this and are you fine with this?

        1. benblack

          I’m fined with this, Orla.

          You just have to respect the priest’s strength of vocation and hatred of evil.

          Some heroes were capes.

  3. RidersOnTheStorm

    It could be the first time in centuries that a priest in Ireland would be jailed for saying Mass in public.

    Usually they were hunted and killed for such a naughty behaviour.

  4. Cian

    Is this just semantics?

    Yes – of course you can celebrate mass whenever you want – not a problem at all.

    No – if you have people in the church it is a “gathering” and you will be fined. For the “gathering”; not the mass you understand.

    1. newsjustin

      Yes. Mass is being offered thousands of times a day around Ireland. For the moment, people can’t be there in person. Just gotta wait it out.

      Not great, but, none of this is.

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