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Bishop of Limerick hails ‘triumph’ after church vandalised

Pictured at the blessing of Our Lady Of Lourdes statue were 

Bishop Brendan Leahy, Fr Damian Ryan and Pamula Keogh [Picture: Michael Cowhey]

Pictured at the blessing of Our Lady Of Lourdes statue were Bishop Brendan Leahy, Fr Damian Ryan and Pamula Keogh [Picture: Michael Cowhey]

 

THE Bishop of Limerick has praised the community in Ballinacurra Weston “for turning a bad news story into a good new story”, following the {http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local-news/no-justification-for-vandalism-of-church-limerick-priest-1-6193556|vandalism|read story here} of the local church last week.

Hundreds of people turned out to support Fr Damien Ryan after he was nearly brought to tears when Our Lady of Lourdes church and a statue in the grounds were daubed in paint last week.

Fr Ryan, whose term in the parish will end this September after 12 years, said there was “no justification” for what was done, but sympathised with the families of the culprits, with one mother ringing him in tears.

It is believed that children as young as 10 were behind the act, but no arrests have been made, and some may be too young to be dealt by the juvenile justice system, according to garda sources.

Mass was held in front of the church on Friday night last, where up to 100 members of the community turned out, as Bishop Brendan Leahy blessed the newly painted statue.

“I hope it’s a once-off, but naturally we have to be attentive to signals and ask why do these things happen, and ask if there is some neglect behind the circumstances that caused this, and what led to this.

“Of course, we don’t ever condone an act of vandalism like that, but at the same time we have to try to acknowledge the cause of it,” he told the Limerick 
Chronicle.

He praised the community for the restoration of the church, which he said was a “marvellous triumph and something they should be rightly proud of.”

Former detective Sean Lynch, who served with Roxboro Road garda station for over 25 years, and is now a city councillor, said there a “lot of good people here, and I’m a firm believer that good will always triumph over evil.”

“Hopefully it’s a once off, and we want to show the people who did this that there’s a better way. It’s all about helping people. It’s a great occasion tonight and hopefully this will be the start of something good,” he said.

A number of residents have expressed fears that now that the feared Dundon gang are behind bars, others appear to want to take control of their former stronghold in the Hyde Road/Ballinacurra Weston area.

Cllr Lynch said such a situation would prove “very worrying, and we all have to work together to ensure that that doesn’t happen.”

“If anyone here in Weston is hellbent on ruining life for everyone else, then they have to be punished accordingly,” he said.

Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea said it was “fantastic to see the damage repaired so quickly, but sad to see the community suffer. Asked about others stepping into criminality following the evacuation of the Dundons, he said “the rewards are so great, it’s a tremendous temptation but if people are tempted they would want to bear a few things in mind, such as that the gardai are now ready, willing and able to take them on.”

 

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