Police encourages Tandragee church to 'follow the regulations' after suspected COVID-19 breach

Police encourages Tandragee church to 'follow the regulations' after suspected COVID-19 breach

Worship took place inside Tandragee Baptist Church. Currently churches should only be open "open for private prayer, weddings, civil partnerships and funerals (limited to a maximum of 25)".

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

POLICE have confirmed that they have spoken to a Tandragee church over a suspected breach of COVID-19 regulations.

As was first reported by the Ulster Gazette in our print edition on Tuesday, members of Tandragee Baptist Church met at their Madden Road building for a service led by Pastor David Patterson.

Simultaneously, other churches throughout Northern Ireland were closed in accordance with NI Executive’s COVID-19 restrictions governing the period Friday, November 27 to Friday, December 11 inclusive.

These state: “Places of worship will only be permitted to open for private prayer, weddings, civil partnerships and funerals (limited to a maximum of 25).

“Places of worship (including places used for worship from time to time) can be opened for recording or mainstreaming of acts of worship with up to a maximum of eight people being involved).”

Drive-in services also are allowed.

Tonight, the PSNI confirmed that they had received a report “of a suspected potential breach of  Health Protection (Coronavirus Regulations Northern Ireland) Regulations in the Tandragee area on Sunday evening (November 29)”.

A PSNI spokesperson added: “The church was spoken to by police and they were encouraged to follow the regulations that are in place.”

The freedom of Tandragee Baptist Church members to meet for worship was defended by Trevor Ramsey, President of the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland.

He told the Ulster Gazette: “We have not had one case of COVID, yet we’re told to close our doors for two weeks. But go to your local supermarket – which is open all the time - and look at what’s happening. There’s no comparison.

“When people see these things, it discomforts them and they begin to wonder if there’s more going on than we’re being told? And that’s when they start to think, “If there is, shouldn’t we just push the boundaries back?”

Pastor Patterson was unavailable for comment as he was attending a family wedding in Scotland.

Full story in this week's Ulster Gazette – on sale now.

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