A parish priest was targeted by far-right Islamophobes after he hosted a blessing for members of the Muslim community in his church.
Fr Stephen Farragher was verbally abused outside St Patrick's Church in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, ahead of Mass on Saturday evening.
On April 3, Fr Farragher had invited two members of the Muslim community to say the final blessing at that day's 10am Mass. Mohammed Cherbatji and Mohammed Rahmani took part in a blessing for all frontline workers who were battling Covid-19.
Last Saturday, fewer than a dozen protesters gathered outside St Patrick's Church, criticising the priest for inviting members of the Muslim community to Mass.
Fr Farragher told the group he had "no objection" to a peaceful protest but asked them to hold it outside the gates of the church.
A number of far-right activists, who claim to be "Catholic nationalists", started to verbally abuse the priest. One protester claimed the priest had invited a "satanic pagan worshipper" into the church.
In response, Fr Farragher quoted that day's First Reading back at the protesters, saying: "Everyone who acts with integrity and justice is welcome at the mountain of the Lord."
Fr Farragher was defended by parishioners, who stood in between him and the protesters and asked them to leave.
When contacted by the Irish Independent, Fr Farragher declined to comment.
It is understood a number of local people have been sending messages of support to the parish priest since the incident last weekend.
Ballyhaunis is one of the most culturally diverse small towns in Ireland and has a strong Muslim population.
The town's old convent is a direct provision centre, and a number of asylum seekers work in local nursing homes.
The group responsible for the demonstration has been trying to spread a video of the incident online. It has also criticised Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for attending the historic Eid celebration in Croke Park last month.
About 200 Muslim people attended the historic prayer service at the GAA's home.
The protest in Ballyhaunis came after a number of incidents of alleged racism to emerge in recent days.
Gardaí are investigating after a Chinese woman was pushed into a Dublin canal. The incident involving Castleknock resident Xuedan (Shelly) Xiong (48) can be seen in a video that circulated on social media over the weekend.
It shows two boys pushing her into the Royal Canal near Ashtown after she challenged a group of young people about racial discrimination.
Separately gardaí are investigating an alleged racist attack in which two Chinese men were verbally abused about the source of the Covid-19 virus before being assaulted.
The two men - Martin Hong and Arthur Ma - were assaulted by three teens in Cork after they objected to comments about the source of Covid-19.