Catholic archbishop criticises ‘provocative’ law on services

The Catholic Church is taking legal advice following the publication of a new Covid-19 statutory instrument that Archbishop Eamon Martin has called “draconian”.

He was responding to a new measure making it a criminal offence to attend certain types of indoor events or gatherings.

The regulations are focused on indoor gatherings of all types, including religious services other than weddings or funerals.

The penalty for breaches of the new law are a fine of €127 or up to six months in jail, upon summary conviction.

The Archbishop of Armagh said the new statutory instrument was introduced and published in a “clandestine” manner.

He said the Catholic archbishops had not been aware of the new law until Friday, when it was published in Iris Oifigiúil, having been signed on Monday of last week by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

This, he said, was despite reassurance to church leaders on Thursday from Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he understood the importance of faith and worship for the Irish people.

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