Calls for Communions and Confirmations to be cancelled amid Delta variant concerns
Communions and confirmations are due to resume from 5 July.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has appealed to bishops in the Mid-West to postpone Communions and Confirmations due to concerns about the number of cases of Covid-19 in the region.
The recommendation was issued to parishes in Tipperary, Clare, and Limerick in a letter from the HSE Mid-West on Tuesday.
While wedding and funeral services have been allowed to have 50 people in attendance since 10 May, Communions and Confirmations have been put on pause until July.
First Communions and Confirmations were due to resume from 5 July with limitations on numbers under the next phase of easing of restrictions.
However, the HSE has now called for all ceremonies to be delayed until September as the area has experienced a spike in cases over the past number of weeks.
In the statement, the HSE said: “It is our view that these services should be deferred until this September due to a number of factors, including: The current high rate of Covid-19 infection in the Mid-West region, and by September, most of those eligible should be fully vaccinated against Covid.
“While we are confident that churches and places of worship have been generally safe environments within the parameters of Public Health guidelines, indoor gatherings and celebrations traditionally associated with Communions and Confirmations are considered high-risk settings for those who are unvaccinated.”
The HSE spokesperson also said that they "are concerned about the increase in transmission of the Delta variant nationwide" even though it remains low in the area.
It comes as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said on Wednesday that it's "too early to say" if the reopening on 5 July will be delayed due to the Delta variant.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan, meanwhile, issued a warning on Monday about the Delta variant after revealing it accounted for 20% of Covid-19 cases in the last week.
Futhermore, on Tuesday, NPHET member Dr Mary Favier warned that reopening indoor hospitality as planned early next month could be "a recipe for problems".