Aontú Rep for Cork North West Becky Kealy has called on the government to ensure against the unjustified closure of religious services in the case of national or local lockdowns, and has called for the government to end the over-restriction of religious in this country at a time when many feel they are needed the most.

Becky Kealy: “Communities of faith have shown extraordinary goodwill in following government guidelines in spite of the burden these restrictions have placed upon their faiths and the practicing of their faith. However, it has been long past the time for churches, synagogues and mosques in this country to be put back in control of their services and institutions – and not be directed by a government with minimal concern. The benefits from churches, synagogues and mosques are invaluable to communities of faith – particularly the elderly amongst them.”

“Many constituents have gotten in touch to tell me how missing out on Sunday mass has been a sore point for them and was of great concern to them throughout this pandemic, when they needed their faith most. Several people from the Jewish community have been in touch to express their hurt over there being no Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah services in their synagogue this year. Congregants from the Muslim communities across the country have spoken about the damaging effect compromised religious services have had upon the elders in their community.”

“The over-restriction of religious services are inexplicable particularly given the absence of any cluster or outbreak arising from socially-distanced religious services. If a pub can be open, if sports matches can take place, and if schools can return, there is no reason why socially distanced religious services can’t return as well. The value that these services have to people cannot be overstated, and cannot be just dismissed by the government.”