A CHURCH was covered in red paint and graves attacked in "horrifying" vandalism during the Christmas period.
Parishioners in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, are reeling over the vandalism, which caused thousands of euro worth of damage. Describing it as "the act of a tortured mind", the local priest is urging vandals to "get help".
The Calvary statue depicting Jesus dying on the Cross was damaged and the front door of the Church of the Assumption was doused in red paint.
The graves of two priests were also specifically targeted in the wanton act of vandalism, which was described as "despicable" and "cowardly".
Fr Pascal Moore, parish priest of the Church of the Assumption in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, said the graves of two former parish priests were deliberately smashed.
A sacristan arriving at the church last Friday morning was shocked to find the church door doused in red paint and graffiti, while the Calvary statue depicting Christ dying on the cross was also vandalised.
Gardai believe the vandalism took place between 3.30am and 9.30am on December 27.
"It was an act of rage, by a tortured mind," said Fr Moore. "Whoever did this came well prepared in the cover of darkness. I am numbed by it and find it hard to find the words. It is despicable and I am sickened by it.
"It is a horrendous and cowardly act. Volunteers worked on Friday to remove the paint and the damage done to the graves will be restored.
"These men were highly respected. We have no idea why they would do this," he said.
Damage to the church, which is over a hundred years old, will run into thousands of euro, he added.
Gardai in nearby Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, are investigating the incident but have not made any arrests.