Mass attendance in Ireland is up


WEEKLY AND monthly church attendance is up in Ireland, according to a new survey. It also found that Green Party voters were least likely to attend church.

The Red C poll, conducted between October 19th and 21st last, for the Catholic Iona Institute and based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and over, found that weekly church attendance is now 46 per cent while monthly attendance is 65 per cent.

An ESRI poll in The Challenge of Indifference by Fr Micheál Mac Greil, published last June, found that weekly church attendance was 42 per cent and monthly attendance was 54 per cent. Just 1 per cent of Red C respondents said they never attended church while another 10 per cent have not been in at least a year.

Of 18 to 24-year-olds 31 per cent go to church weekly while another 22 per cent go monthly or more often.

Among the over 65s weekly attendance is 70 per cent. In rural areas 56 per cent of respondents attend weekly compared to 38 per cent in Dublin. A further 16 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, had been to church within the previous month.

Fianna Fáil voters were most likely to attend church monthly or more often (72 per cent) followed by Fine Gael voters (68 per cent) and Labour (65 per cent).

David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, said the poll bore out anecdotal evidence that church attendance has been increasing since the recession began.

Prof Patricia Casey, consultant psychiatrist at the Mater hospital in Dublin, said people would “benefit from the moderating effects of religious practice on the stress that inevitably results from the current downturn.”