Athlone parish priest feels new rules around church numbers are impractical

The parish priest of the Athlone area says accommodating just fifty people in church services is impractical and poses great difficulties.

Father John Deignan has taken the decision, not to hold any public masses until 100 people are allowed in an inside venue, which comes into effect in the next round of easing restrictions on July 20th.

St Peter and Paul’s Church, which can hold up to 1400 people, can safely accommodate 130 people with 2-meter social distancing.

But Father Deignan says being restricted to just 50 including clergy, altar servers and stewards would have made the cleaning and sanitisation after every mass completely impractical for just the forty parishioners allowed in the building.

Speaking on Let’s Talk today, he says the big issue is actually not the forty who would be coming in but those who would have to be turned away: