A PRIEST who was tied up by a masked intruder has bravely insisted he is "fine" following his ordeal.
Fr Paul Hampson was confronted by a man wearing a balaclava who forced his way into his home in Lusk, Co Dublin.
Fr Hampson, who has been parish priest of the area since 2010, was threatened with a screwdriver before being tied up in a back room of his house beside the church.
The thug stole around €1,000 in cash, which was the proceeds of collections in the parish.
He also stole the priest's mobile telephone before leaving the house. The robbery happened at around 9pm on Sunday night. The priest was reluctant to talk about his ordeal yesterday.
"I'm fine," he said when he came to the front door of the parochial house.
He indicated he did not wish to go into any details of his experience of being tied up and robbed.
The matter is being investigated by gardai at Balbriggan.
The Pastor Emeritus of Lusk, 85-year-old Canon John Fitzgibbon, said he had spoken with Fr Hampson shortly after the incident.
Canon Fitzgibbon, who retired 10 years ago as parish priest, said Fr Hampson had told him the intruder was alone when he broke into the housed.
Canon Fitzgibbon, who lives across the road from the parish priest, said: "This has never happened here before."
He took the place of Fr Hampson at the morning Mass in the parish.
Local people expressed shock at the incident.
Callers to the parish office at the rear of the priest's home said that they were very concerned about the attack on their priest. Fr Hampson has been a popular priest since his arrival three years ago.