Dublin arch­dio­cese seeks lay re­dun­dan­cies as do­na­tions fall 80%

The Irish Times - - Home News - MARK HIL­LIARD and PATSY McGARRY

Catholic Church do­na­tions have plum­meted in Dublin dur­ing the Covid-19 out­break, fall­ing by as much as 80 per cent.

The Dublin Arch­dio­cese said the need to close churches had “re­sulted in very se­ri­ous con­se­quences” for its in­come.

A re­struc­tur­ing strat­egy to ad­dress “this ur­gent sit­u­a­tion” is un­der way to re­duce costs, it said. This is ex­pected to take some months to com­plete.

Two do­na­tion streams – the “com­mon fund” col­lec­tion for priests and the “sup­port for share” fund – have dropped by 70 and 80 per cent re­spec­tively be­tween March and June com­pared with the same pe­riod last year. Priests have agreed to a de­crease of 25 per cent in their sup­port, or per­sonal in­come.

A vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy scheme has also been ex­tended to all staff mem­bers in the dioce­san sup­port ser­vices and to par­ish pas­toral work­ers.

The arch­dio­cese said it had the ca­pac­ity to re­duce staffing lev­els by a third, depend­ing on the level of take-up, from the cur­rent num­ber of 82 peo­ple.

“Each staff mem­ber is be­ing of­fered sup­port and ad­vice mech­a­nisms . . . paid for by the dio­cese. The process is on­go­ing. Dioce­san staff are in re­ceipt of the Tem­po­rary Wage Sub­sidy Scheme.”

Sep­a­rately, a spokesman for the Ir­ish Catholic Bish­ops’ Con­fer­ence said “lay and cler­i­cal pay has been re­duced across the coun­try, with lay re­dun­dan­cies also in play. This re­duced pay/wages is ex­pected to con­tinue into 2021.”

Yes­ter­day, Arch­bishop of Dublin Diar­muid Mar­tin wel­comed new guid­ance is­sued by the Gov­ern­ment’s Cab­i­net com­mit­tee re­gard­ing safe ac­tiv­ity in places of wor­ship and said par­ishes would work to ob­serve the “new norms”.

An as­sess­ment can be car­ried out for each premises to de­ter­mine how many can at­tend while still main­tain­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing. Face cov­er­ings are “strongly rec­om­mended”.

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