Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he will consider concerns raised by a number of Catholic Archbishops at a meeting about the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on public worship and the upcoming Easter celebrations.
Yesterday, representatives of the Catholic Church - Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly and Archbishop Michael Neary - discussed the Church's desire to return to worship, in particular during the season of Lent and with the approach of Holy Week and Easter.
The Archbishops emphasised their wish to continue supporting the public health message and to encourage all necessary measures, including vaccination of the most vulnerable.
However, they expressed concern that life is particularly stressful and difficult for people to endure, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
They asked that public worship resume when an easing of restrictions is considered and they expressed a strong desire that people might gather safely for the important ceremonies of Holy Week and Easter.
The Archbishops also requested consideration of an increase in the number of the bereaved who may attend funeral Masses.
The number of people allowed to attend a funeral service is currently ten.
The Taoiseach acknowledged the importance of the Church community in people's lives at this time of stress and worry.
He outlined the ongoing concerns regarding the spread of the virus, particularly the new variants, stressing that any increase at all in mobility can have serious consequences for public health and put pressure on the health service.
He said the concerns raised at the meeting would be given consideration.
It was agreed to maintain dialogue as the situation evolves.
Places of worship reopened at the beginning of December when the country moved to Level 3, however public worship moved back online when the country returned to Level 5 at the beginning of January.