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‘I’m being told what is and isn’t essential to my worship’: the fight to reopen churches

This weekend marks the most significant date in the Christian calendar but church doors will not be opening for Mass for another month at least. John Meagher speaks to some of those calling for a rethink

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Devout Catholic Riaghan O’Callaghan outside the Church of the Holy Family in Ardara, Co Donegal. Picture by Joe Dunne

Devout Catholic Riaghan O’Callaghan outside the Church of the Holy Family in Ardara, Co Donegal. Picture by Joe Dunne

Fr PJ Hughes celebrates Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Mullahoran, Cavan on Sunday morning. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Fr PJ Hughes celebrates Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Mullahoran, Cavan on Sunday morning. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Declan Ganley. Photo by Damien Eagers

Declan Ganley. Photo by Damien Eagers

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Devout Catholic Riaghan O’Callaghan outside the Church of the Holy Family in Ardara, Co Donegal. Picture by Joe Dunne

Declan Ganley has no interest in pulling punches. “Official Ireland is ashamed of Christianity,” he says. “It is ashamed of the Catholic faith. It’s embarrassed by it. It’s like a truculent 13-year-old in its awkward teenage stage and it doesn’t want to be seen with its parents.”

The Co Galway-based businessman, famed for campaigning against the Lisbon Treaty, has taken a legal challenge to the constitutionality of closing churches during the pandemic.


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