Minority faith groups join call for worship and funerals to return sooner, says Peadar Tóibín

Minority faith groups have joined calls for places of worship to be allowed reopen for public services sooner than the Government’s July 20th timetable, a date that would make the country one of the last in Europe to do so.

Aontú leader Deputy Peadar Tóibín met with members of minority faiths yesterday morning. He said many immigrants who come to this country take great solace in joining their local church, mosque or synagogue where they find community and friendship.

Deputy Tóibín said if the Taoiseach can gather with friends in the Phoneix Park, there is no logic in deferring the phased re-opening of places of worship until July. “The Churches that I have spoken to have outlined their ideas and draft plans to me which will allow them socially distance for the duration of their services. This includes religious ceremonies in car parks or even in cars if raining with the service transmitted over radio”.

“We think it is very important that our immigrant community are protected at this time and allowed to gather in a physically distant manner to prevent them from succumbing to isolation, homesickness and loneliness”.

He also called for an easing of the rules around funerals in large graveyards.

“Supporting friends and families as they bring their loved ones on their final journey is an essential part of life throughout Ireland”.

“We are calling again on the government to facilitate funerals and religious practice to take place in a socially distant manner.  I am calling on An Taoiseach to listen to the concerns of faith groups and hear them out in the detailed ideas and plans they have drafted for how they could reopen their places of worship while still adhering to public health measures”, concluded the deputy.