Cork PP warns of ‘crippling’ financial pressure, appeals for support

Cork PP warns of ‘crippling’ financial pressure, appeals for support

Parishes already struggling with debt are under “crippling pressure” to maintain church structures, said the parish priest in Gurranabraher, Cork.

Fr Tom Walsh SMA appealed to “committed” and “not-so-committed” parishioners to “come to the aid of churches in need”. He warned that some parishes may not be able to survive the pandemic.

“We have seen in recent years the loss and inconvenience of post-offices, Garda stations and small neighbourhood shops closing,” Fr Walsh wrote on the Church of the Ascension’s Facebook page. “The closure of a parish Church, with all its memories (happy and sorrowful), is even more traumatic. The lock-down, for the best part of a year now, has put crippling pressure on parishes to maintain Church structures.”

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Fr Walsh said that his own parish is financial situation and the situation of other parishes prompted him to make the appeal.

“Number one our own finances – we’ve big debt here having recently replaced the Church roof – and from talking to other priests the way they’re being hit as well,” said Fr Walsh. “We were on the pig’s back really up to Covid. The people were responding magnificently really and then suddenly Covid threw a spanner in the works.”


Fr Walsh said that in his experience, every parish relies on the generosity of a small number of regular contributors. He hopes now to reach those whose use of the church is typically for funerals and weddings.

“There are other people who like the Church being there and heated for weddings and funerals, but don’t contribute as much,” Fr Walsh said. “I’m appealing to them to contribute if they want the church to still be available for them. Covid is taking a big toll and I’m concerned for the financial viability of the parish.”