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Thieves rob offertory envelopes from Oughterard church

A church is being forced to install video cameras following the theft of a considerable number of offertory envelopes from a collection box beside a statue of the Virgin Mary.

The incident occurred at Oughterard Church when the envelopes, believed to contain substantial sums of money, were stolen. The matter is being investigated by local Gardaí who are trying to establish the identity of those responsible.

It was one of two such robberies in recent days after Loughrea Gardaí also reported a theft from the church in Kilnadeema which occurred during the daytime on the day of Halloween.

In that case, thieves prised open the collection box and stole a quantity of cash – and Gardaí in Loughrea have appealed for information to (091) 842877.

News of the Oughterard thief became known after PP Fr Michael Connolly informed parishioners in a post on the parish website.

“There is no easy way to trace them I am afraid. There are two recorded instances of these envelopes being opened in a shop and used for purchases,” he wrote.

Fr Connolly asked parishioners to ensure that their envelopes, gratefully accepted, are fully inserted into the safe beside the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

If they will not go in properly, remove them and bring them to the parish office letterbox or better still, give it during one of the weekend Masses.

“We will have to invest in recording of video and other security measures, further increasing demands on the parish finances. I am very sorry that this has occurred, and we are working on it as top priority,” added Fr Connolly.

The theft has been condemned by Cllr Seamus Walsh who described it as ‘a low act’.

He said that it was a terrible thing to happen given the fact that Fr Michael had done so much work to upgrade and maintain the church in Oughterard.

“He has been largely responsible for keeping other churches in the area open and has done trojan work in this regard when many churches are closing their doors,” he said.

“What has happened in Oughterard Church is reprehensible and every effort should be given to the Gardaí to find out who is responsible,” added Cllr Walsh.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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