THIEVES who robbed a rural church on Easter Sunday night made off with a substantial sum of money.
The gang targeted Clonfert Church in East Galway between 9pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday morning.
They forced their way in through the sacristy doors before pulling the safe from the wall, hacking the door from the unit.
Local priest, Fr Declan McInerney said the thieves had made off with a substantial sum.
“We have the shrine to Our Lady of Clonfert out here and all over Easter we’ve had a stream of people coming to the shrine. We don’t know exactly how much was taken but it’s probably not far off €1,000.
“People here are very upset that this could happen during our Easter celebrations, particularly for it to happen on Easter Sunday night,” he added.
Other than destroying the safe, the group also tampered with the security system. However, gardai hope information can still be obtained from the CCTV cameras installed at the Church.
The Church was sealed off for technical examinations yesterday and will remain closed over the coming days as works are carried out.
“It’s particularly difficult to have to close the Church at this time of year but we have no option,” added Fr McInerney.
This is the second time in recent years that the Church had been targeted.
“It’s a real sign of the times. No where is safe in rural Ireland any more, but it is still very upsetting,” added Fr McInerney.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Loughrea Garda Station on 091-842870.