S.I. No. 171 of 2021 HEALTH ACT 1947 (SECTION 31A - TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS) (COVID-19) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2021
We welcome the reopening of churches in Ireland for public worship this week. Thousands of Christians of every denomination and no denomination are very happy to return to gathering for worship. Public worship is an essential service to believers in this nation and many have suffered greatly in its absence.
We do not believe that the closure of churches was warranted beyond those first uncertain months, and certainly do not accept that it should have been criminalised. We are therefore calling on the Irish Government to revoke the above statutory instrument as opposed to simply allowing it to lapse, and to make the commitment that you will never again reintroduce such a law. Freedom of worship is a sacred right and a universal characteristic of free nations and should never be criminalised under any circumstances.
We do not accept that it was fair or reasonable for churches in Ireland to have been closed for so long. We have never been given a valid reason for why churches all over the UK and Europe were open for most, if not all, of this past year, yet Irish churches were closed for approximately 46 weeks.
We believe that, as we were complete outliers with regards to church closures in Europe, a line was crossed by our government. A first step to restoring trust would be to make a public commitment to the freedom of public worship in Ireland in the future. A nation where people are not free to worship is not truly free.
We do appreciate that this has been a difficult year to be in government, and we will continue to keep you and your families lifted up in prayer.
Pastor John Ahern and Pastor Mark Loughridge, On behalf of Christian Voice Ireland