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Funerals of up to 25 attendees permitted from Monday as church services set to resume from 29 June

The provision for funerals and religious services was announced by the Taoiseach today.

Image: Shutterstock/Maleo

UP TO 25 immediate family and close friends may attend funeral services for loved ones once Phase Two of Ireland’s re-opening gets under way this Monday. 

The Taoiseach announced this change of guideline as he outlined the acceleration of Ireland’s roadmap to re-opening this afternoon

Since the onset of the pandemic, restrictions were put in place on the number of people that could attend funeral services.

A maximum of 10 people were permitted to attend a funeral since mid-March.

It had been earmarked that this number would be increased in Phase Two, but the figure of 25 people was provided in the government’s press conference this afternoon. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Up to 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals of loved ones, pay their respects and grieve together.”

Under the accelerated programme for Ireland to re-open, the plan is to expand the range of activities people can engage in from 29 June in Phase Three, and this includes attending religious services.

Varadkar said: “[It's about] making it possible for bars that also operate as restaurants to reopen. Make it possible for us to explore our country as if for the first time and rediscover the beauty that is all around us. We also want places of worship to resume services again, with precautions.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has welcomed the announcement that places of worship can open from the beginning of Phase Three. He said “this will be a consolation to many people and preparations will be intensified to ensure this can be done safely”.

The Irish Hospice Foundation also welcomed the government’s updated guidance on the numbers allowed to attend funerals. 

Sharon Foley of the IHF said: “We fully appreciated the need for minimal social contact in the initial response period but the restriction of 10 people attending funerals was very problematic. The feedback we received from families was, although necessary, this was very hard on them.

Today’s announcement to allow 25 people to now attend a funeral, is a step in the right direction as we continue as a nation to find new ways to grieve and connect in grief in these exceptional times.

Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has said he didn’t feel now was the “right time” to allow religious services again.

He said: “We’re sensitive to people’s religious convictions and beliefs and so on and we’ll be giving ongoing consideration to question as to when we might think it is the right time.”

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Sean Murray

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