I the undersigned support the reopening of places of worship for religious services.

Ireland is the only country in Europe where a person of faith cannot attend religious services. On the Island of Ireland, those in the North of Ireland can attend religious services but those in the South cannot.

Covid-19 is a serious threat to this state and we should do all we can to reduce the numbers but given that Churches are often by far the largest buildings in a town it is possible for a small number of people socially-distanced to attend religious services safely.

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.

Religious services for people of faith have incalculable benefits for their mental health and well-being. They are of immense importance to many many people. Religious services offer routine and community to the vulnerable and isolated. Religious services are perhaps the only opportunity for some people to get out during the week and is a chance for a person’s community to check in on their most vulnerable. Ireland must no longer be an outlier in its closure of religious services.