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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
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mass gatherings

50 people to be allowed at religious services from 10 May - but no communions or confirmations

In-person religious services will return from this date.

THE TAOISEACH HAS announced that in-person religious services can recommence from 10 May, but communions and confirmations are off the cards for the moment.

The government has agreed a range of new, loosened measures to take effect from this date, including inter-county travel and increased numbers meeting outdoors.

From 10 May places of worship will be able to recommence services in-person with a maximum of 50 people in attendance. 

50 people will also be permitted to attend funerals and wedding ceremonies (both civil and religious).

However, just six people will be able to attend an indoor wedding reception and 15 allowed outdoors. From 7 June, 25 guests will be able to attend wedding receptions. 

Although in-person religious services can recommence, the government said communions and confirmations should not take place. 

Speaking to reporters this evening, the Taoiseach said government is “cautious” about communions and confirmations because of “what happens afterwards”. 

He said evidence from last year shows that some gatherings after these events were factors in the spread of Covid-19. 

The government also said that funeral-related events either before or after the church service should not occur.

The 50-person limit is subject to capacity for social distancing in the building and other appropriate public health measures.

A government statement said the new measures for a “cautious and gradual phased reopening” are based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The emphasis is on outdoor activities and a moderate increase in social contacts. 

Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, welcomed today’s announcement, particularly the increase in numbers permitted to attend funerals “as this will bring enormous comfort to those grieving the loss of loved ones”.

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