The Irish Catholic newspaper has predicted a 75 percent decrease in Ireland over the next 30 years, which means only 450 priests will be serving in Irish parishes by 2042.

According to, the figure was reached by examining imminent retirements and current ordination rates. Currently, there are 1,965 priests serving Ireland's 26 dioceses.

Just 12 men entered the national seminary in Maynooth last month. On average, 50 percent of these men would be expected to drop out of the program.

The president of Maynooth said "massive changes" will be necessary within the church due to the lack of priests.

Right now there are 32 priests under the age of 34 working in Ireland, which is just 1.6 percent of the total number of active priests.

The drop off in numbers will mean hundreds of parishes will be left without a priest according to The Irish Catholic's Deputy Editor Michael Kelly. Senior figures in the church have called the figures "very worrying."

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