Shocked priests in a County Donegal parish are this week pleading with heartless thieves who are stealing precious souvenirs from local graves.
According to a report in the Irish Examiner, this week the priests, from Saint Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny, have confirmed that several attacks have been made on local graveyards.
Some items taken from graveyards in rural Conwal and Leck graveyards were thrown into nearby dumpsters, while others were stolen outright.
The items that have gone missing include precious pictures, teddy bears, and even rosary beads - all precious items that may contain little or no worth to anyone other than the relatives affected by their loss.
Parish priests have turned to the cathedral’s news bulletin to plead with the vandals to stop.
'It has been brought to our attention in the last week or so, that items are being removed from loved ones’ graves, sometimes thrown in the skip, other times taken from the graveyard altogether,' they wrote. 'This is heartbreaking for the families involved.' The priests pleaded for people to 'respect the belongings and graves of others.'
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Local Letterkenny town councillor Jimmy Kavanagh criticised the thefts. 'This is the lowest of the low. What are these people up to? You simply can’t put a value on these items and the thought of someone going around stealing them or just dumping them in a skip is despicable. I would ask people to be vigilant," he added.