Priest branded a ‘heretic’ by group for inclusion of Muslim community

Priest Branded A ‘Heretic’ By Group For Inclusion Of Muslim Community
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Digital Desk staff

A priest in Mayo was branded a “heretic” during a “torrent of abuse” in the grounds of his church by a group of protestors as he prepared to say Mass last Saturday evening.

Members of Síol na hÉireann – the Irish Patriots’ Party – gathered outside St Patrick’s Church in Ballyhaunis to protest the decision to allow two members of the Muslim community to say the final blessing and prayer at a Sunday ceremony in the church last April, according to the Western People.

The April blessing was arranged in order to show solidarity with frontline workers and to pray for the eradication of Covid-19.


Parish priest Fr Stephen Farragher told the paper he was subjected to a “torrent of abuse” by the group, who accused the priest of being a “heretic” and of “bringing foreign, satanic cultists” into the church.

“One of our ushers came in and said there is a group gathering outside, and I said as long as they stay outside the gates I have no difficulty,” he said.

When the group entered the church grounds and unfurled a banner reading “No Sharia in Ireland”, the priest asked them to remain outside the gate and said he was subjected to verbal abuse in response.

Religious bigotry

Fr Farragher described the incident as one of “real religious bigotry” which “rattled” him.


“It defaces and devalues religion, what happened on Saturday evening. The messages of support I have received from my parishioners and beyond about what happened [have] been very humbling. These people arrived with their own completely warped view of religion,” he said.

A video of the incident was later posted online, with the priest saying most “reasonable” people would find the footage “appalling”.

Síol na hÉireann issued a statement following the incident, with leader Niall McConnell saying: “This heresy must be opposed if the Christian faith and the Irish people are to have any future in Ireland.”

“Mass immigration will make us a minority in our own country and liberal clerics like this will be to blame,” he stated.

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