The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has said he will continue to emphasise to the Government the importance of the earliest possible return to worship.

In his homily at this year's Chrism Mass, Dermot Farrell said the easing of restrictions must not be subordinated to powerful commercial interests, even those considered "non-essential".

His comments come following the Government's announcement yesterday which stated that the recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis after 4 May will be considered.

It means that due to the pandemic, Christians in Ireland will celebrate Easter online for a second successive year.

The Archbishop acknowledged that given the reported level of Covid-19 remaining "well above" what had been expected and the pace of vaccination being much slower than promised, the decision was understandable.

However, he said there would be "further direct engagement with Government" to ensure that specific positive consideration is given to public worship by the end of April.

The Archbishops met the Taoiseach in February to ask him to consider public worship at Easter and to increase the maximum attendance at funerals from 10 to 25.

Yesterday, the Government announced the latter.

While Archbishop Farrell welcomed the announcement that the number of people permitted to attend funerals had increased, he questioned why the measure had been delayed for one month.

He also used his homily to announce a taskforce on a Church for the Dublin of tomorrow.

Under the title Building Hope, the aim is to address challenges which require "immediate action" in the Church in Dublin.

The Archbishop, who succeeded Diarmuid Martin in December said members of clergy, religious and laypeople will be involved.

Its aim will be to prepare an assessment of the needs of the people of the Archdiocese of Dublin as it emerges from Covid-19 and prepare an approach to a pastoral strategy which will support parish communities of faith to undertake a "radical renewal".

"I want the taskforce to stimulate reflection and creative thinking across the whole community, in parishes and in organisations committed to the well-being of the people, to guide a process of dialogue which will continue as we develop and implement our plans for the future," he said.

An expert panel in the economic, social and pastoral situation in Dublin and trends which will shape it over the next 25 years will also be established.

The taskforce will complete its work by the end of the summer.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Waterford has expressed frustration over the Government's decision not to allow public worship.

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan has called on authorities to take the spiritual care of hundreds of thousands of Catholics and other faiths into consideration.

In a statement issued this evening, the Bishop said a large cohort of people are growing increasingly weary of being unable to attend Mass.

He said their spiritual and mental well-being has been eroded.

"Their patience is wearing thin. They are frustrated and feel unrepresented and discriminated against."

Bishop Cullinan noted that he has celebrated Mass every Sunday behind closed doors, yet "a few steps" from the Cathedral, people can go to their pharmacy, their supermarket or a cafe for an outdoor coffee.

He added that Ireland is one of a small number of countries in Europe where public worship is not allowed.