Concern at robbers targeting priests

Staff Reporter

Concern has been expressed that thieves are targeting priests under the false impression that they keep large sums of money in parochial houses.

Last week Msgr Joseph Donnelly and Fr Piotr Zimnoch were held by armed assailants looking for money in parochial houses in Drumrath parish, Omagh. Two days later Fr Peter Carlin was held hostage when armed robbers gained entry into the presbytery of St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast and left him locked in a room for hours.

Cllr Josephine Deehan, Fermanagh and Omagh Council, condemned the robberies as “reprehensible”.


“What it attests to is that robbers are identifying parochial houses as possibly being where money is being kept from collections and I know that certainly in Drumrath parish this has been the third episode in the last number of years,” she told The Irish Catholic.

“I would be concerned about priests being targeted and I know security will have to be strengthened at Drumrath.”

A statement from the Diocese of Down & Connor said that “while measures are in place to ensure large sums of money are not kept on parish grounds, priests are vulnerable due to the nature of their work and their availability to the public”.

The diocese asked for “vigilance” and encouraged anyone who has information in relation to the robbery to bring it to the attention of the PSNI.