Councillors call to end political church gate collections

The practice of political parties collecting money at the church gate should be brought to an end, some local councillors say, with one of them describing it as “glorified begging.”

The practice of political parties collecting money at the church gate should be brought to an end, some local councillors say, with one of them describing it as “glorified begging.”

The matter was raised at a meeting of Kilkenny County Council’s joint policing committee on Monday, where Cllr Paul Cuddihy (FG) pointed out that as the recession deepens, “more and more people resent all political parties doing church gate collections. They say it should only be for charities.”

Cllr Matt Doran (FF) went a step further and suggested that the practice should be stopped entirely.

“Its day has come and gone, and I don’t see any place for it in the future,” Cllr Doran said.

Cllr Maurice Shortall (Lab) said the practice could be brought to an end “if there was broad agreement not to have it in Kilkenny,” and other members voiced their assent.

It would go some way to addressing the overlap of collections at the church gate, with frequent instances of more than one cause asking for money on the same day.

“We had four collections in one day in Castlecomer,” Cllr Shortall said. “One woman said it’s nearly as bad as taking out a mortgage coming to Mass.”

Cllr Tommy Prendergast (Lab) said that political parties holding church gate collection was “glorified begging.”