Cork cemetery damage labelled a 'disgrace' but city council say vandalism may not have caused it

Cork cemetery damage labelled a 'disgrace' but city council say vandalism may not have caused it
Large numbers of people at the grave yard to check their family graves and inspect vandalism earlier this year.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

An “absolute disgrace” is how Anthony Connolly described the vandalism of a statue on his father’s grave in Kilcully this week.

“We were out there two weeks ago, and planted a load of flowers and cleaned it up,” Mr Connolly said.

Anthony visited the grave again on Tuesday, as he doesn’t live far from the graveyard.

During this visit, however, Anthony noticed the statue of Our Lady that was fixed to the grave was damaged. The hands were cleanly removed from the stature, while the nose and forehead looked like they had been bashed with something.

He said it also looked as though whoever was behind it also made an attempt to remove the statue from the grave fully.

“They cut underneath to get the cement out because you can lift the statue. The statue was fixed to the grave, but you can actually pick it up now and walk away.,” Anthony said.

He said he doesn’t know if the alleged vandalism was random but reported the incident to the Gardaí.

“The guards came to my house last night and took details, so it’s in their hands now, and I had a phone call from the City Council this morning,” Anthony said.

He is due to meet a City Hall official to assess the damage to his father’s grave today.

“They looked around this morning and they couldn’t see much damage, that’s what I was told,” he added.

“What can we do, I’ll just get a new statue and hope it doesn’t happen again,” Anthony concluded.

Stephen Scully of Cork City Council’s Parks Department said that there were “no reports of damage at the cemetery made to any of our Cemetery staff nor to this office. An inspection was carried out this morning following social media reports, and no obvious damage is apparent.

“We are investigating the report of damage to a small statue – it may be that this was not caused by vandalism. If we are satisfied that damage was caused by vandals, we will follow up immediately with the Gardai,” he added.

Following significant vandalism at the cemetery in late 2019 and early 2020, new measures were to be implemented by the Council to ensure the safety of graves.

Mr Scully confirmed that these remain in place.

“There are eight new high definition cameras installed at the cemetery, with improved lighting also in place. The cemetery is also remotely monitored seven days a week, with voice over in place,” he said.

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