Holy terror. Terrifying ordeal for local priests during aggravated burglary

TWO local priests who were targeted by armed robbers are recovering after a terrifying ordeal in Kilcurry.

Kilcurry Parish Priest Fr Vinod Kurian and Fr Oliver Stanfield were at home at Kilcurry Parochial House on Saturday last when four men broke in that evening.
“It happened around 8.30pm. I came back to the house after saying mass in Fatima on the Castletown Road. Fr Oliver had just said mass in Faughart,” said Fr Vinod.

“We talked for a short time and then I went to my room, while Fr Oliver put the collections in the safe.

“I heard someone running outside which was very unusual. Shortly afterwards a man appeared in my room with an axe.”

Fr Vinod added: “I opened my window and shouted for help. Nobody heard unfortunately. I took out my phone to call the guards.
“Then the man with the axe broke the locks on my bedroom door and came in. He asked me to throw my phone on the floor, which I did, and he took it.

“He asked for the keys to the safe and I agreed. I saw Fr Oliver standing beside a man with a hammer.”
He continued: “They damaged the safe so they couldn’t open it. They made us sit on chairs in the hallway while they tried to open the safe.

“It took around 15 to 20 minutes but they managed to open the safe and then they took all of the money and sprayed us with bleach, maybe to kill the DNA.
“They threw my phone away at a nearby cross-roads but it was found and now gardai are examining it for evidence.”

Fr Vinod concluded: “All of the parishioners know about what happened. The community have been very supportive.”

The four men had South Armagh accents, according to the priests. This is the second time that raiders have targeted Kilcurry Parochial House in recent years.

Local Gardaí have appealed for anybody with any information of the incident to contact them.

“Gardaí are investigating an aggravated burglary that occurred on the evening of Saturday 9th March 2024 in Dundalk, County Louth.

The incident occurred at approximately 9:15pm at a residence in the Kilcurry area. No persons were injured during the course of the incident.

The scene is preserved for technical examination and an investigation is continuing at Dundalk Garda Station.

Anyone with any information that can assist Gardaí with this investigation is asked to contact Dundalk Garda Station on 042 9388400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station,”.

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