Wednesday 21 August 2019

'This is not a victimless crime' - distress after Longford church vandalised

Bishop Francis Duffy
Bishop Francis Duffy

Alan O'Keeffe

A BISHOP has said vandalism committed at a country church was sad and distressing.

Catholic Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Francis Duffy condemned the vandalism which resulted in damage to an old stained glass window behind the altar at Saint Michael’s Church in Shroid in County Longford.

The damage to the window, which depicted the Sacred Heart, was discovered on Friday night. Windows in the adjoining sacristy were also broken.

Bishop Duffy, who visited the church near Longford town, said, “I am, along with Father James MacKiernan and our parishioners, deeply saddened at the violent attack on Saint Michael’s Church.

“The church, at which Mass is celebrated each Sunday, was broken into and windows – including a stained glass window - were smashed.

“This is the second attack on the church; the first occurring at Easter 2017, when it was desecrated.

“Another church in the parish, Saint Anne’s, Curry, was vandalised last year.

“Let there be no ambiguity, this is not a victimless crime.

“Vandalism of this kind is profoundly disrespectful to people of faith and to places of worship.  It is threatening and distressing.

“In a truly pluralist society these examples of vandalism are of concern to our whole community.”

Bishop Duffy joined with Fr MacKiernan, administrator of Saint Michael’s, in appealing for people with any information to contact the gardai in Longford on 043 335 0570.

Longford curate Fr Michael McGrath said Sunday Mass will take place as usual in Shroid today at 10.30am. The priests shared the distress of parishioners following this attack, he said.

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