The following statement will be delivered during 10.30am Mass this morning by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly:
“Archbishop Patrick Leahy (1806-1875) was Archbishop of Cashel & Emly from 1857-1875. He was the archbishop who undertook the building here of the Cathedral of the Assumption, in Thurles. He participated in the First Vatican Council and was highly regarded in the Ireland of the 19th century. In appreciation of his ministry and work in building the Cathedral, a statue was erected in his honour in the forecourt of the Cathedral in 1911.
“In June this year the statue was damaged and the head removed – no trace of this piece of the statue has been found to date.
“It is now nearly five months since the statue was damaged. The damage to the statue and removal of the head has upset the people of the archdiocese and, in particular, the people of the town of Thurles.
“I appeal today to any person who may be able to provide information about the incident or the whereabouts of the damaged piece of the statue to come forward.
“All information to be given to An Garda Síochána who are investigating the case at: Thurles Garda station.
“Here today with us is Inspector James White of Thurles who will speak to the press after the celebration of this Mass.
“A committee of the parish is offering a reward for information leading to the recovery of the head of the statue of Archbishop Patrick Leahy.
“I thank you for your attention, and any assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated.”
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.