Northern Ireland news

Co Down parish moves Cemetery Sunday time because of Euro 2016 clash

Cemetery Sunday in Downpatrick has been put back due to the Republic of Ireland's match against France this Sunday. Picture Matt Bohill..
John Monaghan

IT WAS the former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who famously remarked that football is "much more important" than a matter of life and death, and it appears at least one parish in Co Down agrees with him.

Downpatrick Parish, which takes in four churches, announced on its Facebook page that its Cemetery Sunday at St Colmcille's, Killough Road, has been moved back to 5pm to avoid a clash with the Republic's game against hosts France in Euro 2016, which begins at 2pm.

It comes as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, praised the success of both Irish teams, along with England and Wales.

Archbishop Martin tweeted yesterday: "4 home teams in the last 16! Prayers work."

The decision in Downpatrick inevitably provoked a mixed reaction amongst parishioners on social media, with many praising the move as a victory for common sense.

One parishioner who welcomed the time change wrote: "Well done!! The priests in the parish are allowed a break and to enjoy the match. At least it means people have no excuse for not turning up now."

However, there was dismay from others, including one who asked the parish if it was "having a laugh."

The parishioner commented: "Nothing, not even a football match, is more important than Cemetery Sunday at its traditional time."

A woman added: "People have arranged their day around Cemetery Sunday's normal time such as carers and other people who work on Sundays. Now some people cannot attend!! I think it is a disgrace to move the time because of football!!!!"

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