Religious services and the law
Sir,- In your editorial of April 9th, you criticised a number of ways in which the Government has left citizens unclear during the pandemic about the dividing line between what is legally prohibited and what is the subject of public health advice.
The same day, the Minister for Health made new regulations (SI 171/2021) to address one of the principal areas of confusion, religious services. It is now unequivocally a criminal offence for anyone to attend a gathering of people for religious reasons.
Even if one disagrees with the restriction, the clarity is welcome. Citizens must know what the law is if they are to comply with it, and indeed if they wish to argue for changes.
For too long –since June 8th, 2020 to be precise – the legal treatment of religious services has been the subject of obfuscation. Now that the law is clear there can, for the first time, be proper discussion and debate about what the law should be. – Yours, etc,
Prof ORAN DOYLE,
and Human Rights
Trinity College Dublin,