Parishioners horrified after Virgin Mary statue decapitated at Dublin church

“It’s a statue that people passing by would constantly stop and pray. And they have been robbed of that again”

The decapitated statue

Pieces of the statue on the ground

The damaged statue in the grounds of the church

thumbnail: The decapitated statue
thumbnail: Pieces of the statue on the ground
thumbnail: The damaged statue in the grounds of the church
Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A local community in has rallied around St Mark's Parish in Dublin after a much-loved Virgin Mary statue was decapitated earlier this month.

In pictures posted on Facebook by the church in Springfield, Tallaght, the head of the statue is seen lying on the ground shattered in pieces.

The damage to the statue comes almost exactly a year after it was attacked in another act of vandalism.

On that occasion the community had worked hard to have the statue rebuilt and the parish thanked people for their donations and support.

The damaged statue in the grounds of the church

Fresh donations have since been pouring in once again following the most recent attack that occurred on May 10, just one week after it had been given a fresh coat of paint.

Taking to Facebook, the local parish priest Fr Bill O'Shaughnessy said it was “with deep regret to let you know that the Statue of the Blessed Mother outside the Church in Springfield has again been vandalised.

“It is heart breaking for a number of obvious reasons, but this being the month of May when we not only pay closer attention to the Blessed Mother but many children would have taken their photo after their first Holy Communion,” he wrote. “

“It’s a statue that people passing by would constantly stop and pray. And they have been robbed of that again.

“On top of it all, it’s a little prayer oasis that Christy Connelly and Christy Osborne have put massive work, money and energy to get it to where it is today. The statue itself having just last week, been re-painted, and the new seat installed using the money donated after the statue was destroyed last time.

“I was due to bless the little grotto this coming Sunday after the 12:30pm mass in St Mark’s and had hoped that some of the children receiving their first Holy Communion would join him, and I plan to still do it.”

He added: “Let us all say a Hail Mary prayer today for the conversion of those who may have taken ‘delight’ in such cruel vandalism.”

Today's News in 90 Seconds - May 23rd

In an updated post on Facebook, the priest added that they had been “greeted with a huge amount of interest from concerned people near and afar”.

“An Garda Síochána were notified of the vandalism,” he added. “We have also captured on CCTV, footage of three youths walking down Maplewood Road at 1.05am last night. From the footage it is clear that it was a very deliberate act.

“As a grouping of parishes we would also like to thank everyone for the tremendous support of phone calls, texts and donations. Much appreciated.”

The priest revealed that they are currently trying to repair the broken parts of the statue and using the funds raised to acquire a sturdy outdoor statue for the future.

“As it’s very obvious that this small area is used by a huge amount of people for a quiet moment of prayer every day. And again we would like to thank everyone for your generosity and kind wishes,” he added.

Pieces of the statue on the ground

“It is an interesting coincidence to note, that this week last year the statue was also broken.

“Friends, an act like this can strike at the heart of what we are about as a parish and can be very painful. However, it is important to remember that no matter how cruel acts like this may seem, Our Lady has already crushed the head of the ancient serpent.

“So no amount of damage to statues can ever take away the power of the Christian faith and the victory of Christ over evil. God bless you all.”

A garda spokesperson said they were investigating an incident of criminal damage that occurred on the May 10 in a church in Springfield, Dublin 24. No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing.