AN ATTACK on a Church of Ireland parish church in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, St Catherine’s, which will cost at least €50,000 to repair, was the result of mindless vandalism, Gardaí believe.
Any sectarian motive has also been ruled out by the Rector, Canon Isaac Delamere, and the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, both of whom have expressed their disappointment at the shattering of more than 100 clear-glass window-panes in the 200-year-old building on Hallowe’en.
Stained-glass windows were protected from the attack by mesh, but Canon Delamere said that the parish did not have enough funds to protect the remainder, which were diamond-shaped glass panels.
“St Catherine’s and the Charleville Centre do great work across the community in Tullamore,” Bishop Storey said. “It is a very upsetting event for parishioners, as they assess the damage. We want to assure the parish of the prayers of the rest of our diocesan family. The support from the wider community is a source of encouragement at this difficult time. We also pray for those who caused this needless damage.”
Attacks on churches in the Republic are relatively rare, and affect all denominations. The united Tullamore and Clara Union of parishes enjoy excellent community relations, and the Charleville Centre, adjoining St Catherine’s, is used by groups of all faiths.