Priests in a Co. Kerry parish have erected giant banners in local church grounds encouraging parishioners to cast their vote on Election Day. Their move has drawn controversy from parishioners who believe they should stay out of politics.
Eight-foot high banners have been put up in the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Muckross asking locals to exercise their democratic vote on February 25.
The signs outside the Church of the Resurrection in Killarney read, “No rejection of election. Vote — it’s so precious.”
The signs on the grounds of the cathedral and at Muckross read, “Have your say. Vote — it’s so precious.”
Speaking about the banners, Killarney curate Fr. Kevin McNamara said they were erected to send a message of encouragement.
“What we are saying to those over the age of 18 who have a vote is that it is a precious thing and we want to encourage them to have their say,” he told the “Irish Examiner.”
“We’re just reminding people of their civic duty, and all they need do to realize the value of their vote is to look to places like Egypt where the people are being denied their say.”
McNamara confirmed that some parishioners had complained about the banners.
“There has been a very mixed reaction,” he said.
“Some are saying the church should stay out of politics and concentrate on religion but we are nor preaching about it from the pulpit.
“The banners are outside on the grounds and the intention is to encourage people to acknowledge the precious gift of their vote.”