Donegal church vandalised again


THE ALL Saints Church of Ireland in Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, has been vandalised for the second time this year.

Its director, Rev Canon David WT Crooks, arrived for Eucharist early on Christmas morning to discover that vandals had wrenched the doors off the lychgate and thrown them over a nearby hedge. The gate, erected in 1920, is a distinctive feature of the church.

"The people who commit these acts of vandalism are absolute and complete idiots," Rev Crooks said. "Not only have they a very low level of human intelligence, they are also detestable and filthy vermin who have no place in civilised society. It is impossible to imagine what motivates them to do these things."

In May of this year, vandals smashed their way through a rear door of a vestry room at the church and stole a safe. It contained Communion silver dating from the early 18th century.

Earlier this month in the neighbouring parish of St Johnston's Church, vandals set a chair lift on fire, causing serious damage to the building.

Rev Crooks called yesterday for public support for An Garda Síochána which is investigating the vandalism.

"Seeing these vermin get off lightly after committing dreadful crimes, and being snowed under mountains of ridiculous paperwork must be very demoralising for the gardaí. They deserve better," he stressed.

Since the incident, he said, there had been significant support from the community. A local carpenter had agreed to repair the gate. "Some may say that these opinions are unchristian and harsh. But I understand there is good inside all of us . . . I propose a justice system which seeks to rehabilitate these vandals and explore the reason behind their behaviour. That is the Christian way."

Rev Crooks appealed to the local community to approach the Garda with any information that might lead to the arrest of those involved.