Scientist says decision to go ahead with communions and confirmations could lead to "super-spreader events"
"I think the idea that anytime anyone feels an inconvenience they label it as discrimination is a bit absurd."
Professor Aoife McLysaght has said that the decision to go ahead with first communions and confirmations could lead to "super-spreader events".
Speaking on RTÉ Radio's Today programme on Wednesday, the scientist said that Ireland's reopening is "very delicate" and that you "can't just have people deciding the rules don't apply".
Referring to the Archbishop of Dublin's description of the current guidelines on communions and confirmations as "discriminatory", McLysaght said: "I don't know what kind of discrimination they imagine is taking place, but our reopening is very delicate and, as we know, we have quite high case numbers and there are choices that have to be made.
"We can't do everything all at once. I think the idea that anytime anyone feels an inconvenience they label it as discrimination is a bit absurd, we've all been experiencing huge inconvenience for over a year now and we've relied heavily on solidarity.
"We can't just have people deciding the rules don't apply to them."
McLysaght added that there was an added risk due to the fact that children have yet to be vaccinated, saying that events such as communions and confirmations are "not time sensitive".
The Trinity College professor said that they could lead to "potentially a super-spreader event" if they take place before public health advice says it is safe for them to do so.
Her comments come after the Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell wrote to priests in his archdiocese to advise them to proceed with first holy communions and confirmations.
This goes against the current public health advice issued by the government, which states these ceremonies should not go ahead.
He is the first Archbishop in Ireland to give such advice, although several Bishops did give similar advice to parishes last week.