Monday, December 27, 2021

Stories From Lockdown Ireland:

Banning Church and Jailing Grandma: Stories from Lockdown Ireland

Between banning church attendance and jailing grandmas, Ireland has had a bizarre time with the Coronavirus during 2021.

2021 has been a strange year for Ireland.

The island — which has kept a stringent mask mandate in place for the entire year — has gone as far as banning in-person religious gatherings, attempting to censor journalists, and even jailing a grandma.

All this in the name of curtailing the Coronavirus.

Despite implementing harsh restrictions, however, there were multiple times during the year where rules were bent, if not outright broken, by those with political and social power in the country.

With this in mind, here are a few stories you may have missed from the Emerald Isle…

Irish Government Renders Church Going Illegal:

For slightly over a third of 2021, if you went to church on Sunday in Ireland, you were breaking the law.

Starting in late 2020, a ban on in-person religious worship was in place in Ireland, with all ceremonies being mandated to take place online only.

Although exceptions were offered for weddings and funerals, the ban on regular worship persisted right through until May this year, despite widespread criticism.

At one stage, even meeting a priest outdoors for the Catholic sacrament of confession was rendered illegal, despite a contemporary report at the time claiming that only 0.1 per cent of Irish COVID cases were linked to outdoor exposure.

The ban on religious gatherings culminated with GardaĆ­ breaking up a Latin Mass in County Westmeath, with video of the incident gaining hundreds of thousands of views shortly before the ban was lifted.

The ban did not go unopposed.

Irish entrepreneur Declan Ganley took a case to the High Court late in 2020 in the hopes of challenging a similar ban on in-person services that was put in place earlier that year.

“Based on HSE data, our client does not believe that public masses are associated with any greater risk of Covid-19 infection than other important activities, including schooling and childcare, which are permitted under current regulations,” a statement issued by Ganley’s solicitor read.

After being deferred a number of times, Ganley’s challenge was eventually thrown out of the High Court earlier this month, the judge ruling that Ganley’s case was “moot” as the ban on in-person religious worship was no longer in place.

This is despite the fact that the ban, as previously, has come and gone before.

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