St Joseph's Church, Mountmellick
There is upset in Mountmellick after an overnight break-in at the Laois town's parish church in which a shrine box was damaged and the church office ransacked.
Fr Micheál Murphy, Mountmellick PP, confirmed to the Leinster Express that the damage was discovered at St Joseph's Parish Church on Friday morning, November 10.
It is believed that the intruder gained access by forcing a door on the convent side of the church. The door was damaged in the process.
Fr Murphy believed that the culprit may have been after cash as the shrine collection box was damaged. No money was taken.
More seriously, the parish office was broken into. A fire extinguisher was use to smash a window to gain access. The office was also ransacked but again no money was taken.
The priest and staff discovered the break-in at around 8.30am on Friday morning and the gardaí were notified.
"It is upsetting that it happened but the amount of damage done, considering the intruder had free reign, was very little. We were lucky there wasn't more damage," said Fr Murhpy.
While there is CCTV footage, the parish priest encouraged anybody who saw anything unusual or who have more information to contact Gardaí in Mountmellick or Portlaoise.
Fr Murphy reassured parishioners that Masses will run as normal this weekend.