Petition to Reopen Religious Services - Becky Kealy Aontú

Petition to Reopen Religious Services - Becky Kealy Aontú

I the undersigned support the reopening of places of worship for religious services in time for Easter Week.

Religious practice is a human right according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It is an essential element in the lives of many many people in Ireland. Religious practice plays a significant roll in the wellbeing of many people in these dark times.

Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe where a person of faith cannot attend religious services. Since the start of Covid-19, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens have taken a far more restrictive policy against the holding of Church Services than any other country in the world except North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Gardaí have told priests to stop giving out Communion. Religious services were suspended for last Easter, and will be so again for this Easter, if FF, FG and the Greens do not change their minds.

Christians of all denominations have been denied the opportunity to attend a socially distanced services on Sundays. Our Jewish communities were unable to attend religious services for any of their high holy days in 2020, which could well happen again in 2021. Our Islamic communities have been hampered in their attendance of their daily religious services.

We understand the damage to health and life that has been wrought by Covid and the government’s handling of it. Ireland has had the longest and most severe lockdown of any other EU country. Government policy in terms of travel, Nursing Homes, health care capacity, inoculation and all Ireland Cooperation has led to much of the devastation that has happened in this country.

No one is disputing that Covid-19 is a serious threat to the well-being of the Irish people, however Churches are often by far the largest buildings in a town it is possible for a number of people socially-distanced to attend religious services safely.

Communities of faith have shown extraordinary goodwill in following government guidelines strictly in spite of the burden these restrictions have placed upon their faiths and the practicing of their faith.

We call on the government to publish plans now in order that a gentle easing of restrictions for Religious Services can happen for Easter Week.