Wednesday 17 September 2014

Probe after statue beheading and vandalism 'devastation' at graveyard

Published 07/07/2014 | 18:00

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A statue of Holy Mary on Catherine Cleary's parents’ grave was removed from the plinth, smashed and beheaded, along with several others in the graveyard. (Photo: Catherine Cleary)

Gardai are investigating an incident at a Dublin graveyard where several headstones and statues were smashed and beheaded.

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The vandalism is believed to have taken place last Thursday night at the Dean’s Grange Cemetery near Dun Laoghaire and included damage in the ‘Little Angels’ plot for deceased babies.

Malahide woman Catherine Cleary, whose deceased parents’ plot was extensively damaged, described the scene as ‘complete devastation’.

A statue of Holy Mary on her parents’ grave was removed from the plinth, smashed and beheaded, along with several others in the graveyard. Catherine’s sister’s baby is also in the family plot with her parents.

“I got a call from my two cousins who were very upset to tell me the graves had been vandalised. I was absolutely devastated,” Catherine told RTE’s Liveline today.

Catherine, who grew up in the South Dublin area, was emotional on air as she described the extent of damage done at the sacred ground.

“Another grave had a statue of Our Lady and the head had been taken off, ten other graves plus the ‘Little Angels’ plot,” she said.

“The headstone is standing over 40 years for my mother.

"It is made of Sicilian marble and my father, who was left with six kids in the 1970s, saved for two years before he bought it for my mother. This type of marble is irreplaceable, as well as the memories, they are irreplaceable too,” she continued.

“Still to this day I am heartbroken over my dad. It’s the heartache, this cemetery is sacred ground.

“He was only his forties when my mum died – he never remarried. He adored her until the day he died.”

Ms Cleary told she is now seeking to repair the marble statue.

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown Council said similar incidents occur ‘from time to time’ and Gardai have opened an investigation.

“The Council has examined the feasibility of a CCTV system in the past,” a spokesperson for the council told

“Deansgrange is such a large cemetery that it would require a large number of cameras to cover the entire area. However, the Council will re-examine this measure again in light of the forthcoming budget preparations for 2015.

“Unfortunately for the families involved, they must repair the damage themselves.”

The current charge for a plot at the cemetery is €16,000.

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