Garda appeal over stolen relic


Gardaí in Co Laois have appealed for assistance in recovering a relic stolen from a church earlier this week.

The pewter cross known as the Relic of the True Cross was stolen from the Holy Cross Church in Killeshin on Wednesday some time between 10am and 5.30pm.

It was presented to the church around 1822, after the church was built.

Gardaí said the relic was kept in a case embedded in the inside wall of the church. It is made of pewter and contains a 3mm by 3mm piece of wood.

"It has no monetary value but is of enormous spiritual value to the church and the parishioners," a Garda statement said.

Gardaí in Abbeyleix wish to speak to anyone who may have visited the Holy Cross Church on Wednesday between 10am and 6pm and who may have seen anything unusual or suspicious in the area, or who may be in a position to assist with the investigation.

Witnesses may contact gardaí at Abbeyleix Garda station at 057 8730580, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

In June, gardaí recovered the religious artefact known as the Precious Shrine of St Manchan that had been stolen from a church in Co Offaly.

Gardaí believe there are links between a number of recent thefts of such relics and are trying to establish whether two men arrested in Co Offaly when the St Manchan relic was recovered are aligned to a gang specialising in the thefts.

In March, an artefact containing the heart of St Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Last October the Relic of the True Cross, said to contain fragments of the cross Jesus was crucified on, was stolen from Holycross Abbey in Co Tipperary.

Relics from the cross were recovered in January during a search by gardaí in the midlands.