A group of vandals has desecrated a north Dublin convent church and insulted the elderly nuns in residence there.
Driving the news
Local news site Dublin Live reported that the thugs broke into the Star of the Sea Carmelite Nuns monastery in Malahide in broad daylight Monday.
The men apparently sprayed graffiti in the church in the attack and also shouted offensive slurs at the sisters who call the convent home.
The alarm was raised during a Mass in St Anne’s Church in nearby Portmarnock by co-parish priest Fr Jimmy McPartland.
McPartland told parishioners that the gang had “desecrated” the convent chapel – normally open to the public – and screamed “very horrible things” at the nuns.
Police confirmed to Dublin Live that they were investigating “an incident of criminal damage” at the convent.
They said no arrests had yet been made but that investigations were continuing.
A Portmarnock parishioner who often attends Mass at the convent told the site: “The sad outcome of this is that those wishing to pray in the oratory at the convent can no longer do so freely.
“The chapel has always to be open during the day for anyone who wanted to go in and pray or reflect – now because of the actions of a few thugs, we can no longer use this beautiful place of worship freely, but must instead request a key.
“The poor sisters who live there play such an integral part of life in the area and it’s outrageous that a small group of thugs would target them like this.
“Fr Jimmy was visibly upset telling us about it at Mass this morning and the congregation was shocked to hear this distressing news.
“He mentioned that the thugs had said very offensive things about the nuns and there was possibly racist graffiti”.
Why it matters
Local Irish Parliament member for Malahide Darragh O’Brien denounced the vandalism and said the incident at the church highlighted the need for a 24/7 police station in the area.
“Any vandalism is bad but on a group of elderly nuns is disgraceful”, the TD deplored.
“Unfortunately we’ve become used to burglaries and break-ins in the area, but this type of violation of a monastery – to desecrate a religious building – is shocking.
“The effect this has on a group of lovely women – most of whom are elderly – will disgust people in the area.
O’Brien also praised the Star of the Sea nuns for doing “nothing but good work”.
Though the convent chapel will no longer be able to be accessed freely, public Masses will continue to be celebrated there at 8.30am daily.