Dismay as council puts damper on prayer days
UP to 4,000 people are expected to attend a major celebration at the Achill House of Prayer today - but another event at the Co Mayo centre may be cancelled next week because the House of Prayer has not applied for a licence to hold such gatherings.
Today's event, marking the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prayer house, remained in doubt up until lunchtime yesterday because of a demand by Mayo County Council that organisers seek a license required under the 2000 Planning Act for the holding of an event likely to attract huge crowds.
But the local authority agreed at yesterday to let today's celebrations go ahead with the council monitoring the gathering before deciding on Friday week's gathering.
There was outrage among local business people when it emerged that the council had threatened the House of Prayer with court action to prevent its two planned open days. The controversial House of Prayer was set up in the old Convent in Achill Sound in 1993 by a housewife, Christina Gallagher who claims she is visited by Our Lady and is given messages for the people of Ireland.
A centre spokesperson said today would be a day of "prayer, meditation and the saying of the rosary".