Donegal priest bans collections from church porches

Priest says collections being taken up inside the porches of chapels in our parish is breaking the law

Glenfinn chapel

The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Glenfinn

Mass-goers in the Glenfinn (Kilteevogue) parish have been told they are breaking the law by contributing to collections taken inside their church porches.
Local parish priest, Very Rev Lorcan Sharkey informed parishioners last weekend through the parish bulletin that the practice had to end.
It is understood that no parish has ever sought an outright ban on church-gate collections. However, concerns have been raised in the past over political parties collecting outside churches and the distance maintained by collectors from church entrances.
In his bulletin Fr Sharkey acknowledged while collections served a purpose, they had to abide by the law in the matter.
“These ‘collections’, almost all of them for very good and worthy causes, take place under the legislation called: ‘Street and House to House Collections Act 1962’.

Very Rev Lorcan Sharkey

“This states clearly that a ‘Collection Permit’ allows collections at ‘any building occupied for residential or business purposes or public place to which public have access - but does not include a church or building used for public worship or the grounds of a church or of such a building.’
“That is why they are called ‘church gate collections’. They should not be taken up within the church grounds according to this law.
“The tradition of the collections being taken up inside the porches of the chapels in our parish therefore is breaking the law.
“So from the first weekend of March, that is March 7 and 8, and from then on, the very good and generous people who take up these collections are asked please to set up their tables no closer than the bottom of the steps at each door.
“In that way we will be doing our best to keep the law as laid down in 1962. Sorry about the inconvenience. But there is no alternative. Thank you for your understanding,” he said.

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