Burt priest “overwhelmed” by post burglary kindness

Fr Gerry Sweeney, Burt.
Fr Gerry Sweeney, Burt.

The Burt priest whose home was burgled on Ash Wednesday, as he celebrated Mass, has thanked his parishioners for their “kindness and concern.”

Fr Gerard Sweeney said he appreciated the “steady stream of supportive cards, letters and telephone calls” he received after the break-in:

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ he said: “People have been so kind. They are enquiring about my friend, who was alone in the parochial house that night. She was confronted by three male burglars, who threatened her with a screwdriver. She was immobilised with fear and in shock when I returned to the house. The whole experience was horrendous.

“However, the goodness that I have experienced in the aftermath of the robbery has outweighed the trauma of that night. I knew that my parishioners were good. They have shown that many times since I arrived here a couple of years ago. But, I have been left speechless by their kindness and concern. One parishioner has installed CCTV for me and refused to take a penny. Another man, who works for Orbit Security in Letterkenny, heard about the burglary and installed a free, monitored security system for me. I cannot thank people enough.”

Fr Sweeney also praised the garda handling of the incident.

He said: “The garda investigation in ongoing. I must say however, they have been extremely supportive of my friend. Initially I was shaken by the fact that a guest in my home was attacked, became a victim. Now I am really annoyed and angered. I do not understand how anyone could terrify another human being, especially a woman on her own.”

A stoical Father Sweeney said he can now empathise with the people in Fahan Parish, and beyond who have experienced burglaries at their homes.

He said: “My disbelief at the fact that a break-in took place at my home has gone. I now realise that homes all over Inishowen have been burgled.

“Why should a priest’s home be any different?”