A west Dublin priest has been ordered to stop giving out Holy Communion to parishioners after he did so "every week" throughout the pandemic so far.
Fr Binoy Mathew of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Huntstown has stopped administering Holy Communion after Gardaí intervened and reminded him that it goes against current Level 5 restrictions.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Dublin said: "Under current restrictions all religious services continue to take place online. In the interest of health and safety priests and parishes ought not to distribute Holy Communion before or after mass, in or outside churches."
The statement added: "Drive-in masses are not permitted as no gatherings of people outdoors or indoors are permitted. Churches remain open for private prayer only; liturgies and devotions (exposition of the blessed sacrament, rosary, stations of the cross) can take in closed churches, online only."
Fr Binoy explained to RTÉ that parishioners "used to come through the main entrance of the church, receive communion and leave through the exit door. On these days we were having 130 people over a period of two hours." He said that he stopped the practice after being advised by Gardaí.
Under Level 5 restrictions, religious services are only permitted to be held online. Churches remain open for private prayer.