Town left ‘very upset’ after vandals smash Christmas crib and baby Jesus statue
CCTV footage shows men jumping on crib, breaking window and smashing statue
‘It was bitterly disappointing from everyone’s point of view to see this happening. Christmas is a time of good-will and peace to all men and then you have this kind of thing happening. It is sad,” says Cllr Morgan McCabe. Photograph: Noel Buckley
Vandals who kicked in a nativity crib and smashed a statue of the baby Jesus during an early morning attack on the Christmas scene in the centre of a Co Kildare town have left the community “very hurt”.
The men were captured on CCTV jumping on the crib before breaking its window and removing the statue outside the Town Hall in Newbridge at around 5.10am on Wednesday.
Independent councillor Morgan McCabe said the community is “bitterly disappointed” at the incident, which is suspected to have been carried out by local men aged in their 20s.
“They were jumping at it, trying to kick the window in, and they did kick it in,” he said.
“They took that out, broke it into pieces, then removed the baby Jesus statue from the crib. It was brought up the street to Market Square and the statue was found there smashed into pieces.”
Around a dozen drawings by local school children for display on the crib were also destroyed or damaged in the incident.
The Newbridge Eucharistic Adoration Chapel Committee, which raised more than €2,000 to bring the nativity scene back to the town centre for the first time in four years, estimated the damage has run into hundreds of euro.
One member had to drive to Newry to get a replacement manger and baby Jesus statue.
“The community have been very upset by this,” said Mr McCabe.
“There is a lot of work and fundraising involved in this and a lot of pride in it. So it was bitterly disappointing from everyone’s point of view to see this happening. Christmas is a time of good-will and peace to all men and then you have this kind of thing happening. It is sad.”
Mr McCabe said the community did not believe it was an anti-religious attack but more likely a “a drunken, stupid thing”.
Noel Buckley, of the chapel committee said: “I’ve had so many calls, people are very hurt. We have people bringing their children there, to get their photos taken at the crib.
“The value of the damage will be in the hundreds of euro but the fact that someone done this to the crib is worse than the damage caused in a way.”
Gardaí have confirmed they have identified three suspects and that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“Between 4.30 and 5am on [December] 13th on Main Street, Newbridge, three people in their mid to late 20s smashed the window of the crib and damaged one of the statues,” a Garda spokesman said.
“They were encountered by gardaí on patrol and their details were taken. A file will be prepared and sent to the DPP”.
It is understood two of the men are from Newbridge and one is from Kildare town.
The incident is being treated as suspected criminal damage.