Bishop unhappy at statue move

Wed, Mar 10, 2010, 00:00

BISHOP BILL Murphy of Kerry yesterday condemned the removal of religious statues from healthcare facilities in Killarney as “a retrograde step”.

He has also called on the HSE to explain its position regarding the celebration of Mass in hospitals and Christmas cribs.

In a press statement, Dr Murphy said he was very saddened to hear of the removal of the large Sacred Heart statue from the entrance to the Killarney Community Hospital late last week.

Statues and other Catholic items had also been removed from the nearby 150-bed elderly facility of St Columbanus’s Home, the bishop said.

“The patients in both hospitals are elderly and such symbols of their faith were a source of comfort and consolation to them. I believe this was a very retrograde step and one that will not benefit patients or staff.”

Last night the HSE moved to allay “unfounded” concern, saying it had found a new location for the statue in the hospital.

The statue was being relocated “purely on health and safety grounds”, it added.

The HSE also said it had “treated the statue with the utmost respect” and it denied the bishop’s claims that artefacts had been removed from the old people’s facility in the town.