Thursday 5 December 2019

Upset parish offering reward for the return of statue's decapitated head

Boxed off: An appeal to the public to try to find the missing statue head has been made
Boxed off: An appeal to the public to try to find the missing statue head has been made

Ralph Riegel

A Tipperary diocese is offering a reward for information that leads to the recovery of the head of a statue vandalised in an attack in June.

The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Kieran O'Reilly, said the attack by vandals in Thurles five months ago had deeply upset locals.

The attack saw the statue of Archbishop Patrick Leahy, in the grounds of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, decapitated and the marble statue head stolen.

Despite a major Garda investigation, the head has still not been found.

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In a special message, Dr O'Reilly appealed for the public's help in finding the missing statue head - and confirmed a parish committee is now offering a reward for information that leads to its recovery.

"Archbishop Patrick Leahy (1806-1875) was Archbishop of Cashel and Emly from 1857-1875," Dr O'Reilly said. "He was the archbishop who undertook the building here of the Cathedral of the Assumption, in Thurles. He participated in the First Vatican Council and was highly regarded in the Ireland of the 19th century.

"A statue was erected in his honour in the forecourt of the cathedral in 1911.

"The damage to the statue and removal of the head has upset the people of the archdiocese and, in particular, the people of the town of Thurles.

"I appeal today to any person who may be able to provide information about the incident or the whereabouts of the damaged piece of the statue to come forward."

After Mass, Inspector James White of Thurles garda station stressed that the Garda investigation remained active.

Irish Independent

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