Irish priest to carry out Confirmations in defiance of Government restrictions

Irish priest to carry out Confirmations in defiance of Government restrictions

A CATHOLIC priest in Ireland has said he will carry out Confirmations and other church services in his parish despite the government declaring they cannot take place.

For the second year in a row, Catholic schoolchildren have missed out on the church service and family gathering which comes with making Communions and Confirmations, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Usually held in May, the Catholic traditions are a huge part of Irish tradition, and this year's Communion and Confirmation classes initially had their celebrations pushed back to July-- until Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed yesterday evening that they would not take place.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) had written to the Archbishop of Limerick  to warn that the events should be deferred until September due to a rise in Covid cases and the threat of the Delta variant-- the same variant which has postponed the reopening of indoor dining.

While the number of Wedding guests will increase to 50 on 5 July, other church services will not take place, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying Communions and Confirmations are "off, unfortunately" in a brief reply to a question at yesterday's press conference.

But one well-known priest, who regularly presents live weekday Mass on RTÉ News, says he has two Confirmations booked for next weekend and these will take place.

Fr Michael Toomey celebrating Mass at his parish (Image: Twitter)

Fr Michael Toomey administrates the parishes of Ardfinnan, Ballybacon and Grange, and Newcastle/Fourmilewater in the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, said he would "not be following this 'off the cuff' statement by the Tánaiste".

Writing on social media, Fr Toomey continued: " I am planning to celebrate the two Confirmations in my parish planned and will continue to celebrate the Baptism with families, if they wish me to do so".

He said he will continue to celebrate all planned Communions, Confirmations, Christenings and other church services "until such time as my Bishop advises otherwise".