Parishioners in a North County Dublin parish have vowed to “rally around” after an arson attack severely damaged their church.
St Maur’s church in Rush was set alight in the small hours of
Monday morning last by burglars who smashed their way into the building
to steal the tabernacle.
The thieves are thought to have used the garb
worn by altar servers to start the fire in the sacristy before fleeing
with the tabernacle and its contents, including the Blessed Sacrament.
Though confined to the sacristy, which was very badly damaged, the
fire caused extensive smoke damage to the wider body of the church.
Burning through the night, the blaze was only discovered when parish
priest Fr Kieran Coghlan and his parishioners arrived for early Mass on
William Ryan, one of the first to view the damage, told The Irish
Catholic that, despite their upset, the immediate response of
parishioners was to begin offering to do whatever they could to repair
“We’re all behind Fr Coghlan,” Mr Ryan said. Describing the scene
that greeted Massgoers as “a desperate sight”, Mr Ryan said everyone was
even more shocked when firefighters confirmed the absence of the
tabernacle. “They must have no conscience,” he said, “to take the
Having inspected the damage for himself, Fr Coghlan echoed Mr Ryan’s
words, describing his upset at “the violation of a sacred place”, but
added that he was buoyed by the support offered. “People are truly
fantastic here,” he said.
In a Garda search following the fire, the St Maur’s tabernacle was
found dumped in another part of Rush and returned to St Maur’s. Fr
Coghlan confirmed that its ciboria and the Blessed Sacrament are
Gardaí in Rush are still investigating and seeking those responsible for the arson.