Gardai called over man in priest's chair
GARDAI were called to a church after a man refused to vacate the priest's seat as Mass was about to begin.
The incident happened at the evening service at St Peter and Paul's Church in Dublin Road, Portlaoise, on Wednesday.
The Herald has learned that a man went to the church early and then sat on the priest's chair on the altar.
When the cleric came out to say Mass, the man refused to budge, insisting "this is my chair".
Despite repeated requests for him he get up, he stayed put until gardai arrived.
It is understood officers told the man to vacate the seat, but he refused. He was eventually removed from the seat and the church.
Fr Paddy Byrne described it as a "harmless incident", adding: "There was a guy and he was sitting in the chair. He simply would not move," said Fr Byrne.
He said it was a small service, and they "had to get gardai to escort him off the chair" as the Mass was about the start.
A garda spokesman confirmed officers attended St Peter and Paul's Church at 7.30pm on Wednesday and detained a 21-year-old man.
It is understood the man is to appear in court in connection with the charge.
"I heard he went early to the Mass and just as it was starting, he went into the chair and did not leave," a local businessman said.
"The priest was at him for a few minutes to go but he wouldn't, and eventually he called the gardai. It was delayed for about half-an-hour."