Dark grey shows where the holy statue’s hands were smashed off

THERE was shock and anger in Sandyford this week as a statue of Our Lady in the village was vandalised last Wednesday night, with the hands broken off the sculpture.

Very Rev Fr Andrew O’Sullivan, from St Mary’s in Sandyford, condemned the act, saying: “I’m very disappointed at what’s happened. To me it’s just a mindless act of vandalism.”

The statue itself has been in the village for a number of years. It was taken down during construction of the M50 and not re-erected until around six years ago when Fr O’Sullivan was approached by parishioners who asked for it to be put back in place.

He said: “We’ve been very lucky – people look after it; it’s a huge landmark in the area.”

He expressed some additional sadness about the damage to the statue’s hands as they were modelled off the hands of a local woman who died recently.

“She actually was the model for those hands because she was the only woman working in the stoneworks where the statue was repaired a few years ago, so it’s sad for that reason too.”

The statue will now have to undergo significant repairs as it is impossible to reattach the broken hands.

“The way they’ve been broken is just particularly nasty,” Fr Andrew said.

Many locals took to Facebook to express their anger at vandals. “Shocking, what’s wrong with people?” one comment read, while another said: “Sick scumbags. Their mammies must be so very proud of them. If it were mine that done [sic] it, they’d get a good hiding! No respect for anything!”

Another person said: “The area around Sandyford and Stepaside has many beautiful stone crosses, old churches and ancient tombs at risk. This kind of vandalism has to be nipped in the bud immediately.”

Fr O’Sullivan added: “There’s a huge groundswell of both local and not so local people who are very upset by this. It’s a mindless act; there’s no purpose to it.”

Repairs will begin on the statue soon and gardai are investigating the incident.