Words: Dylan Murphy
The senior official says he does not fear prosecution.
A religious official has been breaking COVID-19 restrictions by continuing to hold services. The anonymous figure has been delivering religious sermons from his home in the south-east throughout level 5 restrictions set out by the governemnt.
The current regulations state that all services must be moved online to streaming or radio. However, the clergyman has been conducting 90-minute services because he worries about the “psychological health, isolation and loneliness” of his congregation.
Choosing to remain anonymous so that attendees are not at risk of prosecution, he says he does not fear being confronted or arrested by the Gardaí.
Speaking to Breakingnews.ie he said, “I genuinely do have people in my church with mental health illnesses and I know I have a responsibility to them because they rely on a weekly service to help them,” he said.
“There is a couple, where the man has psychosis and his wife has bipolar, and they thrive with the social interaction at church community. I can’t in all good conscience leave them.”
“Another man who lives on his own, phoned me and begged me to hold my weekly service after closing our place of worship due to the restrictions because he struggles with using modern technology and so can’t watch online.”
Despite now running his weekly service, he said he did not offer an in-person service during the last lockdown.
He continued and suggested that if religious services do not reopen soon many will be pushed “underground”.
“No person who wants to go to church is going to set out to cause problems and ignore the protocols of physical distance and sanitising. We are not going to run amok as all precautions have been, are being and will be taken.”
Today, independent councillor Mannix Flynn called out “groovy hipsters” that were filmed drinking on South William Street on Saturday night.