Vandals 'desecrate' church at quiet north Dublin monastery where elderly nuns live.
A gang gained entry to the chapel in broad daylight
A group of men broke into a church at a north Dublin convent inhabited by an order of elderly nuns in broad daylight yesterday.
Gardai are investigating after a gang of anti-social vandals gained entry to the tranquil Star of the Sea Carmelite Nuns monastery in Malahide shortly after 1pm on Monday before damaging the chapel on the premises.
It's understood that the vandals daubed graffiti in the church, while a local priest told mass-goers that the thugs had shouted offensive slurs at the nuns in the lunchtime attack.
The news was announced during 10am Mass in St Anne’s Church in nearby Portmarnock by co-parish priest Fr Jimmy McPartland, who informed worshippers that vandals had "desecrated" the sisters' place of worship, which is normally open to the public.
Fr Jimmy, who often says Mass at the quiet oratory on the convent grounds, added that the gang had shouted "very horrible things" about the nuns after vandalising the consecrated place of prayer.
The cleric had earlier said 8:30am Mass at the small monastery chapel, and he warned mass-goers that because of the vandalism, they would no longer be able to access the chapel freely as it would now need to be locked.
A Garda spokesperson told Dublin Live: "Gardaí are investigating an incident of criminal damage that occurred at a Church in Seapark Hill, Malahide, Dublin on Monday 11th November 2019 at approximately 13.15pm.
"No arrests have been made at this time and investigations are ongoing."
A parishioner from Portmarnock who often goes to the convent told Dublin Live: "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."
Local TD Darragh O'Brien described the incident as "disgraceful" and said it demonstrated the need to reopen Malahide Garda Station on a 24/7 basis.
The deputy from Malahide told Dublin Live: "Any vandalism is bad but on a group of elderly nuns is disgraceful.
"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.
He continued: "And while we've managed to successfully campaign for a few extra guards in Malahide, this latest incident - involving a group of elderly nuns who do nothing but good work - highlights the need for Malahide to be reinstated as a 24/7 Garda Station and for more garda resources to be allocated to deter criminality in the area."
Daily Mass will still be open to the public at the Carmelite monastery at 8:30am.
Edited from a report ByAengus O'Hanlon
https://www.dublinlive.ie/ - Image Source: http://carmelitesisters.ie/portfolio-view/malahide/