The Gardai have warned a parish priest that he faces prosecution
if he says mass while parishioners are present.
Except for weddings and funerals, public worship has been banned for levels 3 to 5 of covid restrictions.
Last Sunday morning, before Mass begun in Mullahoran, Co Cavan, Fr PJ Hughes was told by two guards that he was breaking the law.
After Mass ended, he was visited again, this time by a Sergeant, another garda, as well as the first two officers, to press the matter further.
Fr Hughes was informed that a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), meaning that he may be prosecuted for breaching the Covid rules.
The penalty, if convicted, is a fine up to €2,500 and/or six months imprisonment.
Fr Hughes informed the Anglo-Celt newspaper, he has now been given “one more chance” to comply.
“I have to make a decision to celebrate Mass everyday, but I cannot celebrate it at the time that’s designated because people will come in,” says Fr Hughes. “So I’ll say Mass at a different time each day, on Facebook, for the people. Because I don’t want to be prosecuted either, although I would like to test to see would they go and bring me before the DPP because I just think this is scandalous really, we’re gone to a police state.”