Sunday 22 September 2019

Graves of two gardaí among five smashed up by car

Ardla cemetery near Skerries, county Dublin (Photo: Google Maps)
Ardla cemetery near Skerries, county Dublin (Photo: Google Maps)
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

THE graves of up to five families, including two gardaí, have been smashed up after a car was driven into a quiet cemetery in north Co Dublin and ploughed over them.

The incident happened last Thursday night or early Friday morning in the Ardla cemetery near Skerries.

A damaged car was later found abandoned nearby and gardaí are investigating if the graves were deliberately targeted.

One of the graves is that of respected local Superintendent Denis Hogan, who died in 1984.

His wife Olive, who died two years ago, is also buried in the same plot.

Yesterday, their son Damian, who is also a serving garda sergeant, condemned the actions of whoever was responsible for the vandalism.

“This is a despicable thing to do in sacred ground and extremely distressing for the families involved,” he said.

“The two graves are beside each other.

“The plinth on my own parents’ plot has been badly damaged, but the damage to the second grave is shocking,” he added.

The second grave is that of John Joseph Thornton, who passed away in the mid-1980s.

“That headstone is completely smashed and lying in several pieces on the grave. It is awful to see it.

“We really can’t understand why anyone would do something like this,” added Sgt Hogan.

The fact that the two men had served in An Garda Síochána is inscribed into the headstones, and gardaí are trying to establish whether the shocking incident deliberately targeted the graves of former serving gardaí or was more random in nature.

“The people left hurting are the families of the deceased who are still mourning.

“This vandalism shows a total lack of respect for the dead and the living,” added Sgt Hogan.

“The people who did this need to be held accountable and I would urge anyone who knows anything to contact gardaí in confidence.”

The cemetery has been used by some people for anti-social activity and drinking in the past, but this type of vandalism has never been reported there before now.

Some families living nearby reported the vandalism, calling gardaí when they spotted it.

Now the families who are affected by the vandalism and destruction are left to repair the damage.

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