The issue of whether a prayer will be said before the meetings of Castlebar Town Council in future was raised at the May meeting of the local authority. The councillors were discussing a number issues to do with protocol recommendations for the council. Cllr Frank Durcan proposed that before a meeting the members should say an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father. Cllr Eugene McCormack told the meeting that “maybe that is one too many” to which Cllr Durcan agreed that either the Hail Mary or the Our Father be said.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Therese Ruane who was standing in for Cllr Ger Deere, told the meeting, “I think it’s better that we have a minute’s reflection rather than a prayer so everybody can reflect. We’re a State institution that should be inclusive of everybody.” Cllr Durcan responded, “I oppose you completely, we’re a predominately Catholic country and a predominately Catholic ethos. If anybody doesn’t want to say the prayer they don’t have to.” Cllr Noreen Heston told the meeting that prayer is a very private matter. “I think maybe if we said an Our Father and had a minute’s reflection,” she said.
Cllr Harry Barrett suggested that the mayor of the day should choose whether it is to be a minute’s reflection or a prayer. The proposal for a prayer and a minute’s reflection was defeated by four votes to three in the chamber, with proposal to say either a Hail Mary or Our Father along with a Glory Be to the Father was passed four votes to three.