ST PATRICK’S Catholic church in Derrygonnelly has been the latest church propety to fall victim to criminals – just two days after the church reopened following a major refurbishment.
Two candle shrines inside the church were damaged and the money inside them was stolen. A candle shrine is used by people to light candles for special intentions in return for small donations.
The church had previously been closed for renovations for 11 months, and reopened just weeks ago. Members of the Botha parish worked tirelessly to fundraise over the past couple of years to restore the church and the news of the theft came as a shock to the local people.
Disappointed Parish Priest Jimmy McPhillips told the Herald, “Two candle shrines were damaged and robbed two days after the church reopened after the refurbishment.
“It was very disappointing after we had just reopened a couple of days.
“It is disappointing that people would come into a place of worship and do this kind of damage and rob the place. We have footage of the incident and they spent 25 minutes in the church just wrecking the shrines. It was a blatant attack.”
The incident is thought to have taken place on November 14th at around 12.30pm. Police are also investigating a similar incident which occurred a week before St Patrick’s Church was burgled at a different, unspecified location on November 7th.
These latest burglaries follow reports that parochial houses in Ederney and Trillick were also broken into earlier this month – but it is believed that nothing was taking in both incidents.
A spokesman for the Police warned, “We are investigating a report of the theft of a sum of money from a candle stand at church premises in the Derrygonnelly area.
“A similar incident occurred at a different location on November 7th, and we are asking the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to Police.
“If you can help police with their enquiries please call the 101 number.”