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Bishops ask people to 'keep eyes open' for stolen 800-year-old mummified head

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Visit: The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, emerges from the crypt of St Michan’s. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Visit: The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, emerges from the crypt of St Michan’s. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Visit: The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, emerges from the crypt of St Michan’s. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

A leading cleric has called on Dubliners to "keep their eyes open" in case the head of a Crusader stolen from the crypt of St Michan's Church has been dumped.

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, joined Catholic counterpart Dr Diarmuid Martin to tour the crypt yesterday, with both men appealing for the head's return.

"On its own, the head is useless. But it will mean so much to the people of Dublin to have it restored to its resting place," said Dr Jackson.

"I want to assure people that I will return here to reconsecrate the crypt. It is right to reconsecrate an area that has been desecrated."

Dr Martin also appealed for the 800-year-old mummified head to be returned and said the desecration of the crypt was "an offence against the city" of Dublin.

Gardaí investigating the desecration are working to determine whether graffiti on one of the coffins was an attempt to misdirect them.

One man broke into the tomb at around 11.30pm on Saturday. Gardaí reviewing CCTV footage confirmed he did not have help and was not disguised.

Graffiti scrawled on the inside of a coffin has proved "difficult to decipher", according to a senior source.

Officers are keeping an open mind about the value of the markings as a clue. "It could be an attempt to misdirect the investigation," a source said.

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