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Labour calls for numbers allowed to attend funerals to increase from 10 to 30

Labour leader Alan Kelly said the rules are too rigid and ‘the numbers are too small’.

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Labour leader Alan Kelly has called for an increase in the number of people being allowed to attend funerals from 10 to 30.

Under phase two of the Government’s road map on June 9, funerals will still be restricted to immediate family and close friends, but can have a slightly larger number of mourners present.

Mr Kelly said the rules are causing great distress to people who have not been able to attend the funerals of loved ones.

He told the Dail: “We have to do something immediately about the way in which we are dealing with funerals in this country.”

“Simply, the rules are too rigid and the numbers are too small. Many families are bigger than that.

“I actually beg you to change it to up to 30.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a discussion has started with leaders of various churches about how they could increase the number of people being allowed to attend funerals.

He said: “We have started discussions with the leaders of churches about how we might amend this over the next number of weeks. A lot of it may be to do more with the size of the church than anything else.

“Obviously a very a large church could take more people with social distancing than a very small church. The idea is to develop a protocol and a practical solution to this.

“I have spoken to a lot of people who had to make that terrible decision where they had to choose what 10, and then explain to the remaining people why they could not attend. We do understand that this is a really difficult thing for people.

“I had discussions with the Catholic bishops a few weeks ago – they were particularly interested to know what we might be able to do to allow baptisms and weddings to happen, but they would be small…. A lot of people have been waiting a long time to christen their child, but we have to wait and make sure it can be done safely.”

PA