A Catholic priest has described the sale of Jesus costumes in Halloween stores around Ireland as "distasteful, offensive, and unacceptable."

The Catholic priest made the remarks after Halloween HQ, which has 10 outlets across seven cities, included Jesus costumes in their horror section. Priced at €35 ($47. 33), the costume includes a white robe, red drape, wig, beard, and a "soft crown of thorns."

Fr Tom Deenihan, the diocesan secretary at the Diocese of Cork and Ross said respect for religious beliefs "is central to modern society."

There would be "uproar" he said, "if other religious figures were depicted in this way," he told the Irish Examiner.

Fr Deenihan said: "The celebrations of the Feasts of All Saints [All Hallows] on Nov 1 and commemoration of the faithful departed a day later, are times when people visit cemeteries to remember and pray for their dead."

He added: "It is truly regrettable and sad that, for commercial purposes, the death of Christ and these dates should be used to ridicule the Passion of Christ and reduce it to a horror costume."