Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anger as youths seen urinating in holy well

A parish priest has personally witnessed three young men engaging in a disgusting act of desecration on a holy well in the grounds of his church in County Derry.

Father Frank O'Hagan said he was shocked to see the men urinate into the well at St Aidan's Church in Bellarena.

"The three young men drove into the car park at the church, they got out of the car and urinated straight into the well, he reported.

"They were watched by a number of young people tending graves in the graveyard, just above the well, Fr OHagan added.

He said the locals did not recognise the three lads so it was assumed they were not from the parish.

There is no indication who or what they were or why they were doing it."

Fr O'Hagan says that it was a disgusting and distasteful act, explaining that a lot of people come to the well to drink from it.

The PP emphasised that the parish immediately had the well flushed it out as a result of the incident.

"It's not something you would want to happen too often and it was not a very nice thing to do," he remarked.

We have taken no follow-up action other than to clean the well and the water quality is monitored by Limavady Borough Council because so many people drink from it."

Fr O'Hagan said that parishioners were advised of what happened in the weekly parish bulletin.

"Hopefully whoever did this will now realise that they were seen and that might put them off doing it again," he added.

Parishioner and local public representative Paddy Butcher said the entire parish was outraged. The well and the grave of St Aidan attract visitors from around the world, he remarked.

"My advice to the culprits is to call Fr O Hagan and make a full act of confession to receive forgiveness for their sin because this act of desecration will bring them nothing but misery in the life ahead of them."

A second councillor, Leslie Cubitt, said: the incident was "an absolute disgrace because tourists visit the well and a lot of people drink from it."

Tradition connects St Aidan with the area and the spring and well were dedicated to him in the seventh century.

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