Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called for the easing of restrictions around funeral services and burial, saying that churches are often the biggest building in a given town. He said that the “cruel” restrictions at funerals was in contrast to the daily experience of people standing in queues for goods in busy shops and supermarkets.
Deputy Tóibín said: “Many of the government’s restrictions are not making sense. Churches are typically the biggest buildings in each town yet there is a cruel 10 people limit at funerals. While at the same time people can stand in a queue for wine and crisps in their local shop”.
Calling for the government to loosen restrictions he said: “As we enter our second year of lockdowns, I’m calling on the government to ease the restrictions around funerals. Many families who lost loved ones at the start of the pandemic, who were unable to give them a proper send off, were known to console themselves with the idea that they could do something moving to mark the first anniversary.
“The first anniversaries of those who died during the first wave are coming up shortly, and we are all still in lockdown,” he said.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “It makes no sense whatsoever. Churches are the biggest buildings in each town, social distancing is easy within a church – ever second pew remains closed off with people encouraged to sit at the end of each seat. Stewards and ushers, alongside undertakers and priests have done a fantastic job in ensuring social distancing and regular sanitisation to date. Nonetheless, as it stands only ten people are permitted into churches for funerals, and yet in a much smaller shop next-door to the church twenty people could queue up for ice creams. Limiting attendance at funerals to ten is cruel, especially for families who consist of more than ten siblings”.
“We really need to start assessing the psychological damage this pandemic and lockdown has caused to our nation, and figure out ways to begin the process of healing our people mentally and psychologically. People who die from Covid-19 are not allowed have an open coffin, understandably, but I cannot begin to imagine the distress that causes to families. To be forced to walk that journey of grief alone, without the presence of loved ones or neighbors, must be an appalling experience. The limitations around attendance at burials – in a wide open field / graveyard – are most bizarre also. We need to prioritise the easing of restrictions around funerals. These cruel restrictions are causing untold hurt and pain. “, concluded Deputy Tóibín.