Irish pastor given prosecution notice for Easter service faces 6 months in jail

A non-denominational Christian pastor has been given a prosecution notice and threatened with up to six months in prison by Gardaí for opening her church on Easter Sunday.

Gript media reports that Pastor Sharon Perry of the Abundant Grace Christian Assembly in Ringsend, Dublin, said her congregation were upset and anxious after Gardaí took action when she opened her church during the Level 5 restrictions.

The Easter indoor gathering of around 25 people – which was fully socially distanced, and featured roughly an hour of prayer and religious song – was ultimately allowed to go ahead. However, while most worshippers were allowed to leave unimpeded, Pastor Perry herself was confronted by Gardaí as soon as she stepped outside.

“The inspector was waiting for me as I left the building and quietly told me that I would be prosecuted for having the service, which would result in a fine of up to €2,500, or a six months prison sentence.”

Pastor Sharon Perry has already received a €500 fixed penalty notice for opening her church the previous Sunday, which she says she has no intention of paying.

On that occasion another pastor was arrested after police broke up one of the church services.