Priest devastated after Galway church robbed and vandalised

Parish in ‘disbelief’ after break-in in east Galway on Easter Sunday night

The thieves forced their way into the unoccupied church through the sacristy door and spent some time inside, removing a safe which was built into a wall before making their escape. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The thieves forced their way into the unoccupied church through the sacristy door and spent some time inside, removing a safe which was built into a wall before making their escape. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A priest has spoken of the devastation in his parish after his church was vandalised and robbed.

Fr Declan McInerney, parish priest of Eyrecourt in east Galway, said he and his parishioners had no option but to pick themselves up after the break-in to Clonfert Church on Easter Sunday night.

The thieves forced their way into the unoccupied church through the sacristy door and spent some time inside, removing a safe which was built into a wall before making their escape.

Gardaí have confirmed a sum of money was taken in the raid and detectives are hoping CCTV footage from the church may help in tracking down the raiders.

On Monday the church was sealed off for forensic examination by technical experts and it is not expected to reopen for at least 24 hours.

Gardaí at Loughrea are appealing for assistance from anyone who may have noticed any suspicious movements in the area in recent days and for anyone with information to contact them on 091-842870.

“People come up here on a regular basis and the church in Clonfert is never empty,” said Fr McInerney. “People are really devastated as it happened on Easter Sunday night

“People are in disbelief at the damage that was done and the fact that their church was vandalised.

“It has left us all upset—it was my first Easter outing as parish priest. Parishoners have been coming all morning and ringing in support.

“We have to pick ourselves up and go on from here”, Fr McInerney added.