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