Church welcomes talks over 1916 event closures

Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The main Protestant church in Dublin has welcomed an assurance that discussions can take place over the closure of churches for the Easter Rising centenary parade.

This week the Church of Ireland expressed “disappointment and sadness” at a lack of consultation over access to the city centre for the commemorations on Easter Sunday. Archbishop Michael Jackson, who would normally worship in Christ Church Cathedral on Easter morning, said the affected churches were seeking alternative venues.

“People will, understandably, be upset not to be able to worship in their parish churches on Easter Sunday. We are making this decision with regret but in recognition of the fact that people for whom we have a duty of care will find it very difficult to gain access to city centre churches on Easter Day,” he had said.

The church on Wednesday insisted it had not been instructed to close churches. Later on Wednesday the Irish government said arrangements for the parade “are still being finalised” and that people would be able to attend their usual places of worship on Easter Sunday if possible.

“The Government hopes that further consultations can take place that will provide reassurance to the Church of Ireland that it will be possible to facilitate access by parishioners to its Easter services,” a spokesman for the taoiseach said.

The Church of Ireland has said it appreciates the government’s response to its earlier statement.

Archbishop Jackson said: “Having considered the traffic restrictions which are to be put in place from 6.00 am on Easter Day and the difficulties which would ensue for parishioners trying to access city centre churches the Archbishop and affected clergy put measures in place in order to enable parishioners to worship in churches located in areas outside the cordon. We are happy to consult with the organisers of the commemoration on this matter.”

An estimated 350,000 people are expected in Dublin for the parade involving Army, Navy, Aer Corps, UN service veterans and Garda representatives, with a fly past by the Aer Corps.

Archbishop Jackson went on to say: “We appreciate the Government’s response to the statement issued by the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough yesterday on arrangements to facilitate people in inner city parishes in their worship on Easter Day. We further appreciate the Government’s wish to do all it can to facilitate people in attending their usual places of worship on Easter Day if possible.”