Church in insurance compensation talks over millions of lost pandemic income

Church closures ‘had a very detrimental effect on income and collections’

Dublin's Catholic Archdiocese is in discussion with its insurer, Allianz Ireland, over compensation for loss of income during the pandemic, when many of its parish churches had to close.

Informed sources have estimated that amounts involved could come to millions of euro.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said that “long periods of church closures throughout 2020 and 2021 had a very detrimental effect on income and collections. The impact of this was not fully offset by cost savings and policy cover was in place at the time in the event of a global pandemic. A claim in this regard is currently being discussed with the insurers but it has not been completed.”

Hospital Report

Collections at Mass

Last June, Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell said finances in the archdiocese had been “severely impacted” by the pandemic with the drop in income from the usual two collections at Sunday Masses down by “80 per cent and 86 per cent respectively for the first quarter (January to March 2021)”.

The collections at Sunday Masses support priests in the archdiocese, with the second “Share” collection set up to help disadvantaged parishes.

"In the last financial year, the clergy collection decreased by 54 per cent and the Share collection decreased by 65 per cent. This year the situation is even more grave," Archbishop Farrell said last June.

Redundancy scheme

In 2020, during the first year of the pandemic, the personal income of Dublin’s priests was reduced by 25 per cent due to a collapse in collections. A voluntary redundancy scheme, extending to all staff members in the diocesan support services and to parish pastoral workers, was also introduced.

During 2020 in other Catholic dioceses across the island, pay for both lay and clerical staff was also reduced significantly. A number of lay redundancies were imposed. The financial difficulties continued into 2021.

Of the 25 other Catholic dioceses across the island, it is understood a majority are also insured by Allianz Ireland.