Church robberies remain an ongoing issue as Donegal takes most hits

Church robberies remain an ongoing issue as Donegal takes most hits Photo: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Church robberies have been a feature of news emerging from multiple parish offices across the country recently. From Kerry to Donegal, thieves have targeted churches in order to seize money that may be present in the candle boxes. While robberies have been taking place across churches throughout the country, Donegal has been the target for nearly half of the recent robberies.

Priests in the affected parishes have been unable to identify any reason why the county has been honed in on other than the remoteness of some churches. Fr Francis Bradley of the Fahan parish said he ‘had no theory’ as to why Donegal churches have been targeted, including Fahan.  He did however, believe it to be a “mindless” attack given that the effort to break into a candle donation box was so high compared to the often small amount of change in the box.

Priests told this paper that parishioners benefit from a church being open seven times a day and most of the day by doing their prayers in a more private manner, can perhaps derive more spiritually when doing so in a church setting.  This does leave the churches more open to robberies.  Fr Johnny Moore of Dungloe would like parishioners to still have these benefits but says that they still plan to take things more seriously in terms of security. He believes that St Crona’s Church in Dungloe was targeted given that it is in quite a rural area relative to other areas in Ireland.

Overall, many priests feel indignant that some people would target the local church, a charitable organisation. Fr. Francis said that “even people of a low faith would have a sense of common decency to not steal from a charity”.