AN ATTACK of vandalism that has devastated the interior of a rural Anglican church in the west of Ireland has been described by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam as akin to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
The Church of Ireland Holy Trinity, Errislannan, in Co. Galway, was broken into on an unknown date last week, and, the Hon. Priest-in-Charge, Canon Stanley Evans, says, it was a calculated act that destroyed everything sacred in the building.
Pews were smashed, windows were shattered, electrical fittings were pulled out of walls, and the pulpit and organ were wrecked. The lectern was broken up, and the Bible was thrown out of the window.
The RC Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, issued a statement on learning of the vandalism, saying that the attack at Errislannan was an act of persecution against all Christians. “Over the last 12 months, there has been high-profile media coverage of the desecration of Christian churches in Iraq and in the Philippines. These actions are a physical threat to worshipping Christians anywhere in the world.”
“The violent images of the devastation in the Holy Trinity Church, in Errislannan, are distressing . . . it is an act motivated by anti-Christian sentiment, and is a challenge to freedom of religious expression in Ireland today.”
Congregations throughout the country, of all denominations, were this week sending both corporate and private donations to help restore the building, which, Canon Evans said, would be repaired as soon as possible.
Gardaí at Clifden are understood to be interviewing at least one young person in connection with the incident, and further arrests are expected.