A businessman is calling for a campaign of civil disobedience to allow for public worship.
Declan Ganley says Irish Catholic bishops should order their parishes to open to allow for COVID-19 mitigated services from this weekend.
This is despite the Government being expected to announce changes to restrictions on Thursday.
In my personal opinion, the Irish Catholic Bishops should order their parishes to reopen from this Saturday forward for the holding of covid mitigated public worship, with priests & stewards as well as the congregants all aware we face possible arrest & prosecution.
— Declan Ganley 🇭🇰 (@declanganley) April 27, 2021
Mr Ganley told The Hard Shoulder he has a case before the courts.
"Ireland is now in the unique place of being the only country in Europe to ban public worship.
"When you look at the findings and the science that's come out from other countries, with respect to the infection risk from COVID spread at masses... the evidence is that they're very safe - especially when you put good COVID mitigation protocols in place.
"As were put in place by the Irish Catholic church here last year".
He said several other countries have lifted such restrictions.
"In case after case - from the US Supreme Court - to most recently in Scotland, in Chile, in Switzerland, in France we have seen where bans on public worship were overturned by the courts.
"There is a challenge currently in the courts.
"I first took this case back in October/November, we're seven months in, it's up for hearing again in another three weeks.
"But the actual case itself may not be heard for some considerable period of time".
Asked about his call for a campaign of civil disobedience, he said: "It is the only near-term path, seven months into this legal process starting, the only short-term path we have to being able to get back.... is through a campaign of civil disobedience".
"The criminalisation of going to mass and participating in a public mass - either saying it or attending it - is an affront to our Constitution, and we should care about that".
He added: "It's not like we're all going to be going in there and holding hands, singing 'Kumbaya'.
"These are done very, very responsibly, we recognise the risk of COVID spread: I have had three friends die of COVID over the course of the last year.
"We understand the risk, we know how to mitigate, we're gown ups: let us be able to practice our Constitutional right".