'Upset': Canon Donal McNamara
SACRILEGIOUS damage was caused to St Lelia’s church on the Kileely Road after a burglary during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Very Reverend Donal McNamara, of St Munchin’s and St Lelia’s told the Limerick Leader that it was “quite upsetting and distressing” to witness the damage caused to the church, which borders Thomond Park.
Candelbras and a number of doors in the church were broken, while Fr McNamara said that the sacristy was “destroyed”. The burglars also took the opportunity to vandalise the sacristy with graffiti, writing ‘Up Moyross’ on the walls.
A large safe from the sacristy was stolen, which fortunately was not believed to contain any cash, but it’s believed to contain a number of chalices and “sacred vessels”.
“Two people wouldn’t have been able to carry the safe out of the church, so I don’t know how they got it out. But they will be in for a big disappointment as I believe the monies from the collection had already been taken out of it,” Fr McNamara told the Leader.
“It is upsetting for the community, as the people down there take such wonderful pride in their church. The door into the sacristy was broken as well, and everything was thrown around. We were lucky in that neither church, St Lelia’s or St Munchin’s, was broken into before.”
The church is opened most mornings at around 8.30am by a caretaker, who discovered the damage and alerted the priest.
It is generally locked at around 12 noon and is not re-opened again unless there is a funeral.
Fingerprints have now been taken from the scene by the forensic bureau. Gardai attached to Mayorstone are investigating three burglaries in the early hours of this Tuesday morning. Two locked up premises were broken into, one an attempted break in at 2.45am at Kileely Road and another at Sexton Street North at 4.15am. Entry was gained to the premises on Sexton Street North but the culprit or culprits fled when disturbed.
Gardai believe that all three incidents are connected and are appealing to the public for information.
Anyone with information can contact gardai at Mayorstone on 061 456980 or 1800 666 111.