Vandals have caused damage costing thousands of euro to St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Baltinglass.
The church’s stained glass windows have been undergoing a renovation process, including releading the windows and replacing deteriorated storm glazing.
Rocks were thrown at the church on Friday afternoon, breaking stained glass windows and damaging some new storm glazing.
Rev Máirt Hanley (Photo above) said the damage is a real set back for both the church and parishioners.
‘It was very upsetting and distressing. There were pieces of stained glass all up the knave of the church. There has been some anti-social behaviour around the church grounds in the past but no damage has ever been caused to the church before. It’s very disappointing. I hope those responsible will think about what they are doing. This will cost us thousands of euro, not just one or two thousand. It’s quite a burden on the parish. We have had some greatly supported fundraisers lately but now we will have to start the works all over again because of the vandalism.’
The damage was first noticed on Friday afternoon by a local Work Placement Programme (WPP) worker who reported it to Rev Hanley’s wife. Further damage to the church had been caused by the time they arrived back at St Mary’s to examine the extent of damage caused.
‘I was visiting someone in hospital at the time,’ said Rev Hanley.
‘It’s particularly disappointing that it wasn’t just one incident of vandalism. They actually came back to cause more damage. We contacted the gardaí and they are investigating. Most likely it’s just some youngsters messing about. I know they won’t appreciate the financial burden placed on the parish. It will cost a five figure sum to repair the damage, which is a hefty amount for a small parish like ours,’ said Rev Hanley.
Report by Myles Buchanan in Wicklow People, August 17, 2019