Thugs who have vandalised Clonleigh Chapel in Lifford attacked the Rector and the congregation by their actions, according to Father Edward Kilpatrick who spoke at a public meeting on Thursday night last.
Parish Priest, Father Kilpatrick said that he was deeply saddened to learn of the vandalism on his return from holidays. In a hard-hitting speech he told those present that “it was not a night for pussy-footing around the matter” and that something needed to be done.
Vandals have viciously targeted the historic church three times in the past six weeks. Thugs lit a rag and placed it in a keyhole, broke glass pictures of former clergy, threw vestements to the floor, tore down a stone wall, used a large stone to try and break into a safe and removed items from a grave.
“This church could have been burned to the ground and that would have been a tragedy. This building is here for three hundred, almost four hundred years. A group of young people have gathered here and have viciously attacked the Church and in doing so, attacked the Rector and the congregation of the Church of Ireland. All of us feel deeply hurt that the Church has been targeted like this,” Fr. Kilpatrick said.
He said he was told that the area around the church had been used for young people gathering to drink. He asked the garda representative if anything had been done to resolve this issue.
Garda Robin Doyle from Lifford Garda Station told those present that gardaí were confident that they would apprehend the culprits having had CCTV footage given to them from the offices of Donegal County Council. He said that the gardaí were paying close attention to the area and were being actively encouraged to do so.
Also see page 2.