YOUNGSTERS in Ballinacurra Weston have been asked to help repaint the badly vandalised Our Lady of Lourdes grotto.
Assistant director of the Limerick Regeneration agency Kieran Ryan has approached some youngsters on the southside to ask if they would be happy to help him try and restore the revered statue to its former glory.
And he says the response has been positive.
Our Lady’s statue and the surrounding grotto at Crecora and Clarina Avenue has been defiled by vandals who have drawn obscene images on the icon, and daubed names on the dome overhead.
The arms have been broken, and horses are often seen grazing within the walls of the shrine.
But with the help of the community, the statue could soon be back to the way it should look.
Mr Ryan said he has approached some of the youths he has been working with on various programmes, and they have agreed to help.
“I met with a bunch of them yesterday, and they said they would love to do it,” he told the Limerick Leader, “I don’t need a whole pile of kids; I just want to get a few of them involved.”
Mr Ryan hopes this move will show that most kids in Ballinacurra Weston are ultimately good.
“I am fortunate enough to have gotten to know some of the kids down there, and I don’t want to see them all painted with the same brush, if you pardon the pun. There are a lot of good kids down there. I spoke to one of the young fellas whose name is on the statue, and I asked him if he did it. He said no, and has agreed to help me repaint the statue,” he said.
The repainting is expected to take place next week, pending a blessing by the local parish priest, Fr Damien Ryan.