A parish priest in Co Cavan has accused gardaí of harassing him and churchgoers on Sunday as he went to rejoice Mass in breach of pandemic restrictions which don’t enable public worship.
Fr PJ Hughes, parish priest of Mullahoran and Loughduff in Co Cavan, has already obtained a €500 positive following a Sunday Mass he celebrated on March seventh final in Mullahoran.
The priest has stated he doesn’t intend to pay this positive.
Chatting with The Irish Instances about his dealings with gardaí on Sunday, he stated: “they intimidated me getting in to Mass. They intimidated me, and so they intimidated the folks.
“They have been annoying the folks and so they have been speaking sturdy, telling us all of the figures that we’re all feckin’ sick of listening to on the radio, of over 5,000 useless, as if no one else died of anything solely Covid. Telling us that we have been ‘making a sizzling spot’ and but no one from this parish has died of Covid.”
He defined: “I went all the way down to a home of have a cup of tea with a household earlier than Mass and on my manner again up, they blocked the three roads main into the church. They stopped on the prime of every highway.
“They’d 4 automobiles; three squad automobiles and a giant white van. There have been eight gardaí in all and one automobile within the automobile park on the church.
“One man who involves Mass right here along with his son, that man rang and stated ‘the guards are after stopping me and I received’t get Mass in the present day’.”
Father Hughes stated gardaí “don’t realise what they’re doing. It’s one factor about Covid however the probability of getting Covid right here could be very, very low and they’re offending and hurting folks now, mentally.
“The taxpayer needed to pay eight guards yesterday, eight guards to come back out to a small little place like Mullahoran, a rural setting the place no one has died from Covid.”
He stated the officers had requested him “do I realise the numbers of people who find themselves dying from Covid and that I might be accountable for passing Covid. It was the standard.
“They’re working for the HSE in addition to the Authorities. The HSE message, you hear it daily on the radio. I used to be inflicting a state of affairs for the unfold of Covid.”
About 20, “possibly 21” folks attended the Mass at Mullahoran on Sunday, whereas 10 had attended the Mass he celebrated within the second church within the parish at LoughDuff on Saturday night. There have been no gardaí current for this Mass.
Fr Hughes stated he was not conscious of stories that some folks making their strategy to the Mass at Mullahoran had been fined for travelling past their 5km space. A Garda spokesman stated it was not coverage to offer out particulars of numbers concerned.
“No, no one has been involved with me. The Bishop has informed me that I ought to shut the doorways however now there’s a extra severe factor. The Authorities have introduced that it’s a penal offence for a priest to rejoice Mass in public,” he stated.
A web-based report within the Irish Catholic newspaper claiming this had been despatched to him on Monday morning, he stated.
“So now it’s over to the bishops. They’ve to answer that. It’s kind of a kick within the enamel for the bishops and the Catholic church on this nation.”
He famous how within the US “the church buildings are allowed to be half full, 50 per cent can enter the church. The church challenged the federal government and so they obtained their rights, their constitutional rights. A half an hour from right here folks can drive up and go to Mass [in Fermanagh],” he stated.
“Persons are respectful, folks perceive, persons are not going to come back in crowding right into a church, they know, persons are clever and on the identical time they need to practise their religion,” he stated.
As for himself “I’m dwelling my religion and if this Authorities who clearly don’t imagine in God anymore, haven’t any concern of God, have put in place these penal legal guidelines, they don’t have an effect on me.
“They’ll put me in jail if they need however it is going to be for saying Mass not for committing against the law, for saying Mass, and it’s a tragic day to assume this Authorities has determined it’s a prison offence for monks to rejoice Mass in public for 10 folks. My God I can not imagine that.”