WICKLOW'S sense of community spirit in the build up to Christmas was evident as more than 100 people turned up to help with the clean-up of St Patrick's Church.
A fire broke out in the church on Thursday, December 20, in the crib erected as part of Christmas celebrations. Two fire-units fought and put out the blaze – but not before the church had suffered extensive smoke damage.
More than 100 people from the local community came out in force to assist with a clean-up of the church to ensure that Christmas Masses could go ahead as planned. Young and old alike cleaned up the church of any debris remaining from the fire, while the walls and altar were scrubbed.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin also arrived to see the damage for himself and assist with the clean-up operation.
Gardaí examined CCTV footage after the fire and a woman in her forties was arrested and interviewed. The woman, who lives locally, was charged with criminal damage at a court sitting in Dublin on Saturday, December 22. A file is currently being prepared for the DPP.
The crib was completely destroyed by the flames. There were also fears that valuable Harry Clarke stained glass windows in the church had suffered damage but they appear to have been relatively untouched by the fire and smoke.
Fr Donal Roche praised the fire services and thanked the 'army of helpers'.