Minister condemns theft of medieval artefacts

The priceless stone window surround on Church Island.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, has condemned the removals of a carved fifteenth century limestone window from the gable of a medieval church on Church Island, Lough Garadice and of an outer facing stone from a gun loop in the tower of a bawn on neighbouring Crane Island (also known as Slasher’s Island).

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, has condemned the removals of a carved fifteenth century limestone window from the gable of a medieval church on Church Island, Lough Garadice and of an outer facing stone from a gun loop in the tower of a bawn on neighbouring Crane Island (also known as Slasher’s Island).

Last week the Leitrim Observer were first to break news of the theft of the priceless artefacts.

Archaeologists from the National Monuments Service have inspected the damage to the church and bawn, both of which are protected monuments under the National Monuments Acts. The incidents have been reported to An Garda Síochana.

The window is a significant part of the medieval church structure on which conservation works have been undertaken in recent years by the Ballinamore Development Association and the Everan Foundation, with the co-operation of Coillte and the support of grant-aid from Leitrim County Council, the Heritage Council of Ireland and contributions from members of the Breifne Historical Society.

Minister Deenihan said he was concerned about the fate of the missing window and the stone and has appealed to any person with information about the items to contact An Garda Siochána.

“I am shocked by the damage and destruction to these important monuments and would appeal to the public to come forward with any information which may be of assistance in locating the items ” said Minister Deenihan.

The Minister is appealing to anyone with any knowledge of the incidents to contact the Gardai in Carrick-on-Shannon on 071 9620021 or his Department’s National Monuments Service at nationalmonuments@ahg.gov.ie or 01 8882169.

Meanwhile Gardai are investigating the possibility that a 15th century window frame, stolen from Church Island on Lake Garadice may have been taken a year and a half ago as there is no fresh evidence of anyone having been on the site in the recent past.

Gardai are investigating the possibility that the theft of a boat on Lake Garadice about 18 months ago may be linked to the theft of the priceless window. The boat in question was subsequently located in Co Monaghan.