Stolen church paintings 'are still in country'
SIX valuable paintings stolen from a church last month are thought to still be in the country.
The six Stations of the Cross were stolen from St Peter and Paul's Church in Kiltullagh, Co Galway, on June 22.
Crimestoppers have offered a substantial reward for information on the theft.
The paintings, by famous Irish artist Evie Hone, were worth hundreds of thousands of euro as a complete set, but were priceless to the parishioners in the small community.
Parish priest Fr Michael McNamara said detectives believed the paintings were still in the country.
He appealed to the thieves to return them to the community.
"We're hoping and praying all the time that the paintings will be returned but we have heard nothing," Fr McNamara said.
"Detectives don't think they have gone overseas. They feel they may still be in the country so we are appealing for their safe return."
Since the theft, the remaining paintings have been held in safe storage. However, the parish is now taking steps to return them to the church.
Reproductions are to be made of the missing six paintings and church authorities are now in talks with specialists on how to secure the paintings to the wall.
Anybody with information can call Crimestoppers on 1800 25 00 25.