THE Catholic Church has accused casual traders who are selling Jesus costumes for Halloween fancy dress parties of insulting Christians.
The €39.99 costumes, made in China, have been sold nationwide at open air markets and from some seasonal shops.
A number of shoppers expressed disgust at the outfits – with the majority of high street stores refusing to stock them.
Following a flood of complaints, stores that had stocked the outfits have removed them from public display over the past fortnight.
However, the outfits have been sold at casual markets in Cork, Galway and Dublin over the past week.
The outfit, which includes a long robe, a red sash, a false beard and even a crown of thorns, is still readily available online.
One online store was even offering a 15pc discount on the original €46.99 price.
A leading Catholic diocese has now publicly expressed disgust at such costumes which, they claimed, mock Jesus and his crucifixion.
The Diocese of Cork and Ross also questioned whether traders would have sold similar costumes of other religious figures.
"It is truly regrettable and sad that, for commercial purposes, the death of Christ and the Feast of All Saints should be used to ridicule the Passion of Christ and reduce its depiction to a horror costume," said Fr Tom Deenihan of Cork and Ross.
He stressed such costumes were not only in bad taste but offensive to everybody of faith.
"One can only imagine the uproar if other religious figures were depicted in this way," Fr Deenihan said.