Teachers and parents at a Kerry school have moved quickly after a Santa Claus screw up by a visiting priest.
Children at a primary school in Lixnaw were upset when retired priest Martin Hegarty mistakenly implied doubts over Santa.
The children have now been reassured that Father Hegarty made it all up and that Santa does exist after his blunder when he believed he was talking to a class of predominantly sixth class students.
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The Irish Times reports that Fr Hegarty was filling in for the parish priest when he visited the school to explain the message of Christmas.
The report says that during his talk with children in the fourth, fifth and sixth classes, he implied that Santa did not exist.
A number of children became upset and at least one began crying.
The school’s board of management is to meet to discuss the matter later this week.
A deeply embarrassed Fr Hegarty told the Kerry’s Eye newspaper that he did not realise the children were upset.
He also told the newspaper that Irish children got more presents than other nationalities at Christmas.
The priest said: “So they needn’t worry, the presents will come whether Santa comes or not.”
The school principal and his staff have worked closely with the children to ease their concerns.
One parent told the paper: “The children have been told that the priest was making it all up.”
In a statement Fr Hegarty also conceded that: “Santa Claus is not my area of expertise”.