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Disgust as family grave in Ballyoughter cemetery is desecrated

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Tanya Kenny and husband, Darren, at Tanya's family grave in Ballyoughter

Tanya Kenny and husband, Darren, at Tanya's family grave in Ballyoughter

Tanya Kenny pictured with her husband, Darren Kenny at Tanya's family grave in Ballyoughter

Tanya Kenny pictured with her husband, Darren Kenny at Tanya's family grave in Ballyoughter

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Tanya Kenny and husband, Darren, at Tanya's family grave in Ballyoughter

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The desecration of a grave in Ballyoughter cemetery has shocked and upset a local family.

Tanya Kenny, who lives in Crossabeg, but is originally from Ballycanew, got a call from her sister Eileen last week to say that the family grave had been vandalised.

'Almost all of the stones were taken off it, and the plaques and statues were thrown around the grave,' she said. She said that several years ago, she and her husband Darren purchased the decorative glass stones for the grave.

'They cost €65 per bag, and we used nine bags,' she said. 'I don't know if they were taken because they were valuable, and they could sell them on or because they wanted them for another grave.'

She was planning to visit the grave before Christmas to lay a wreath in memory of her parents John and Anna-May McCarthy, and her brother John-James. John died in May 2002, while Anna-May passed away in May 2003. John-James died at the age of three months.

Tanya said that smaller items have been stolen from the grave from time to time, but she was truly shocked at the extent of the theft. 'It cost us almost €600 to put the stones on the grave,' she said. 'They were maintenance free and they were to be there forever, and wouldn't have to be replaced. It took a long time for us to save up for them as we have five children. That makes it all the harder to take.'

She reported the matter to local priest Fr Thomas Orr and to the gardaí. She believes the theft happened sometime in the previous three weeks as she visits the graveyard at least once a month. 'Three weeks ago it was fine,' she said. 'No other graves around it were touched. We're very upset at finding our parents' grave desecrated in the week before Christmas.'

She doesn't believe this was a case of children messing, as those responsible would have needed a vehicle, and bags to carry the stones, which are quite heavy. 'My parents are in the older part of the graveyard, almost at the road, but you have to go in by a different gate,' she said. She is hoping someone saw suspicious activity but thought nothing of it at the time. When contacted, neither Fr Orr nor undertaker Pat Flood had heard of similar incidents in other graveyards in the area.


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