Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Robert Troy has said the 50 person limit on indoor gatherings is hard to fathom in certain places of worship which can easily hold many more.

He also said that if the one metre social distancing rule is relaxed for pubs and restaurants then the same should apply to places of worship.

He explained, “The Government has said it anticipates that churches across the country will reopen for public worship on June 29th with social distancing guidelines in place.

“As it stands there is a 50 person limit on all indoor gatherings which will rise to 100 on July 20th. You could point to any Cathedral in the country and it would easily fit a much larger crowed, many of them up to 2,000 people.

“Parishes have really stepped up and been innovative in reaching their parishioners. During lockdown the broadcasting of services on television and the live streaming on webcams greatly helped people. They are also working extremely hard to put in place new measures to ensure a safe reopening for all their parishioners.

“But as is acknowledged by all, the online or television services are not a substitute to being able to celebrate the eucharist and have access to the other sacraments. There are children and families wondering when their communion or confirmation might take place and with the 50 person rule in place it’s likely these still won’t happen for some time.

“People’s faith is very important to them and it is clear they are eagerly awaiting a return to church services,” he concluded.