Mayo Council insist a day of devotion to mark ten years of the House of Prayer on Achill Island needs a permit.

Mayo County Council has been strongly condemned for insisting that a licence is required for a day of devotions to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the House of Prayer on Achill Island.

Marking its tenth anniversary, the House of Prayer on Achill Island run by Christina Gallagher plans to hold a day of devotion, and thousands of pilgrims are expected to attend.

Mayo County Council is insisting under section 233 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, the event must be licensed.

Pilgrim Lil Redmond is appalled by the Council’s request.

Religion is something very special to people and those of us that practise our religion consider that horrific what the County Council even consider doing.

Eddie Synnott considers the demand by the Council is

Totally against people’s right to worship.

Mayo County secretary John Condon says the local authority is dealing with the House of Prayer organisers in the same way it deals with the organisers of any event where large crowds are expected, be it a pop concert, a sporting event or a religious event.

If you have over 5,000 people gathered in a single location, the same problems occur and the safety of the individuals have to be provided for.

Independent Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley is very concerned about the Council’s request for a permit as the day of prayer has become a traditional annual event.

People come from all over Ireland, decent people, to pray, and yet for some perverse reason Mayo County Council are trying to stop it.

While the House of Prayer organisers are unhappy with the Council’s request, the day of prayer will go ahead and it hopes the permit regulations row can be resolved.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 July 2003. The reporter is Jim Fahy.