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Ballinspittle statue is still on the move

NICOLA TALLANT WITNESSES who were ridiculed for saying they saw Ballinspittle's famed moving statue 20 years ago, are sticking to what they said. And they say it still moves for them.

The phenomenon attracted worldwide attention in 1985 when crowds thronged to see the statue of the Virgin Mary in the Co Cork area.

A former garda sergeant says he was teased in his station because he saw the statue float in mid-air during the height of the marvel that captivated Ireland. But in a documentary to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ballinspittle he says he is adamant that he witnessed a miracle in the tiny Cork village.

"People have had very different experiences. But in July 1985 I saw something physically impossible at that grotto. I saw the concrete statue of Our Lady floating in mid-air. Not rocking too and fro but floating," says retired Sgt John Murray.

"The following morning I went up there and checked out that statue. I felt like someone was playing tricks on me and I was amazed to find no wires or trickery there at all.

"In 1985 there was a mingling of two worlds, our world and the mystical world, and something amazing got people praying."

Mother of nine Cathy O'Mahony said she too suffered ridicule because of her visions. But she says she is confident of what she has seen with her own eyes - and only had a vision three months ago.

"I was saying my prayers and the whole statue disappeared and I saw a big luminous figure of some sort. I got a fright but it faded away and came back.

"You meet many sceptics and they don't believe it, but as far as I am concerned it is there for everyone to see."

Patricia Bowen says she too sees the statue move to this day and claims to have seen the face of God at the grotto.

When the statue in the roadside grotto began to move, it prompted religious fervour across Ireland and around the world.

A teenager was the first to make the claims.

Would You Believe - Still Moving will be screened tonight at 10.20pm on RTE 1.

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