Attack on Church is attack on us

Damaged caused to the Church of Ireland windows in Moville. 1604JM02
Damaged caused to the Church of Ireland windows in Moville. 1604JM02

A Moville doctor has hit out at vandals who smashed precious 150-year-old irreplaceable windows belonging to the local Church of Ireland in the town in April.

Last night people from across the community gathered in St. Eugene’s Hall for the Moville Gospel Choir concert in aid of the restoration of the windows of St. Columb’s Church.

Speaking to a packed St. Eugene’s Hall in Moville last night, Dr. Don McGinley said it was a “sign of solidarity” so many wished to show their support to the local Church of Ireland building.

“Today [Thursday] people were taking to the polling booths voting yes or no, but from what I can see at this concert that everyone is voting no against the wanton destruction of the windows in the Church of Ireland.”

The Moville doctor says an attack on the Church is an attack on the heritage for the town.

“There is a website called gloine.ie which depicts all stain glass windows from Church of Ireland’s across the country. Moville is represented on there through Christ of the Good Shepard which was put in honour of a Doctor Sproll and his wife, this is our heritage up there and any attack on it is an attack on our history.

“This sort of wanton destruction isn’t on and the people of Moville won’t accept it.”

Dr. McGinley told the ‘Journal’ whilst researching former doctors in the town, he found the first doctor was called John Irwin who on his death wanted to be “conveyed” to the Church by people of all “dominations”.

“The first doctor in Moville, John Irwin, who died in on 3rd July 1857, said in his will he did not want an ostentatious funeral and that he wanted to be conveyed to his resting place by his friends and neighbours of all dominations.

“I would like to think Moville is still like that these days,”

Local councillor Martin Farren, who attended the concert with his wife Eileen said it was great to see “inter denominations in the community” at the show. It was a fantastic night and fair play to the Gospel Choir for taking the initiative and organising the show.

“It was an excellent example of the wonderful community spirit in our town and congratulations to everyone involved.”

As well as a full programme of songs from the Gospel, local stars, including Patsy, also took to the stage to entertain the crowd and help raise money for the replacement of the Church windows.

When the windows were damaged just after Easter, there was widespread anger in the area at the attack on the picturesque building.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ at the time, a spokesperson said:

“This is a hateful thing to have happened and it is certainly something we did not need.

“We’ve had a specialist come and look at the windows and they told us there was no way they would be able to repair them and restore the original windows. They have been there for over 150 years and it is a terrible shame we are losing this feature.”

Although they said they did not feel the vandalism was sectarian as people from all religions often use the stunning surroundings of the Church for their wedding photographs and other special occasions.