The Parish priest of Knock has defended an elderly member of the clergy after Claremorris native, Senator Catherine Noone described the elderly priest as an "octogenarian" on Twitter.
According to today’s Irish Independent, Senator Noone, who is pro-repeal, was unhappy that abortion was brought up during Easter Mass celebrated in Knock.
Senator Noone’s tweet, since deleted, read: "Easter Mass in Knock Basilica this afternoon with my parents - an octogenarian priest took at least three opportunities to preach to us about abortion. It's no wonder people feel disillusioned with the Catholic Church."
In response Fr Richard Gibbons,the Parish priest of Knock , told the Irish Independent that his colleagues were "inoffensive people". "We have a lot of chaplains working at the shrine, and quite a number of them are retired, but still say Mass.
Fr Gibbons stated that it would not be unusual for the right to life to be brought up in a Catholic church. "[The clerics] here are very measured, intelligent men. They're guys who have a lot of experience under their belt," he said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Senator Noone said she had been attempting to "paint a picture" by using the term "octogenarian" in her tweet.
"I'm not ageist. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not ageist," she said.
She added that the tweet was deleted because she did not need the negativity it sparked.