The following information has been distributed to priests and parishes by the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Dublin:
Experience has shown that during political campaigns, Churches, because of their public accessibility, are prone to the placement of political and campaigning literature. In light of the announcement that some Referendums will be held later this year; parishes are reminded that:
- Churches are not appropriate places for the distribution of literature of a purely electoral or campaigning nature, during referendums or election campaigns;
- Every effort should be made to ensure that churches are not used for the dissemination of campaign literature from any source.
- Parish Priests and Rectors of Churches are responsible for verifying the appropriateness of any publications which are on sale or distributed gratis in their Churches or grounds.
- Campaign material should in no circumstance be distributed through schools.
In parish publications in general please consider the following guidelines by Diocesan Communications Office some months ago.
- The focus of any parish newsletter or web and social media should be to circulate information on liturgies, parish events, parish contacts, death notices, and charitable events concerning the local parish community and the wider Archdiocese.
- Newsletters distributed in the name of a parish community should not be used as a vehicle for the expression of personal views.
- When publishing information or images concerning named individuals it is best practice to seek their permission in advance. Publication of details such as addresses and mobile phone numbers should be avoided, where possible – if necessary it must be done with consent.
- If publishing images of children under the age of 18 – permission must be sought from a parent or guardian. It is good practice to clarify this with parents/guardian at the time of the authorised photo being taken. Images of children should not be published along with their full names.
- The parish priest or administrator, or a nominee of his choice, should exercise editorial control over the parish newsletter and other media platforms.
- The Diocesan Communications office is available to advise further if you are in doubt about the nature of an article or post submitted for publication in print or on line.