Man arrested for driving ice cream van through doors of Tralee church had imitation firearm

By Anne Lucey

A priest at St John's Parish Church in Tralee has spoken of the shock felt by the Diocese of Kerry after a bizarre attack by an ice cream van last night.

Tralee’s main parish church, St John’s Catholic Church, has been severely damaged after a vehicle, understood to be an ice cream van, drove through the locked gates of the church, and proceeded through the double entrance of the church itself.

The damage done to the doors of St John's Church last night.

The incident at Castle Street in the town centre took place at 9pm last night and gardaí were quickly on the scene.

The church is well back from the street and protected by iron gates locked each evening.

However, the vehicle, which was travelling at speed drove through the gates and through the entrance doors and onto a second set of doors.

It is reported that he then left the scene in the van and was chased by gardaí. When officers caught up with him, he was arrested and was found in possession of an imitation firearm, according to reports.

Considerable damage has been done to the main church doors. However, no one was injured and masses are going ahead as normal with a side entrance open.

Fr Francis Nolan of St John's Parish said: "We are all very shocked that this has happened. However, we are glad that nobody has been hurt.

"Masses and ceremonies at St John's continue as normal with people using the side door. The gardaí are investigating the incident. Damage is limited to the entrance of the Church and we are confident this will be restored to normal as soon as possible. Our prayers and thoughts are with anyone affected by this incident."

Local councillor Sam Locke said people were shocked. A young man driving an ice cream van was arrested and is in custody.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Kerry said they were informed by gardaí of the incident.

Gardaí are investigating. The damage is being assessed.

St John's Church. Photo:

St John’s dates to the mid 19th century.

Related Articles

Gardaí investigate alleged violent assault on schoolgirl in Louth

Update: Three people released without charge by Gardaí who intercept three Glock guns in the post

Garda rescues two homeless people from burning historic building

Man arrested in Germany over killing of Bulgarian journalist

More in this Section

€920,000 worth of drugs seized in Dublin

Irish writer Anna Burns wins Man Booker Prize

Cork City Council faces big legal bills over flood planning

Richard Bruton confirmed as Denis Naughton's replacement as Communications Minister

Breaking Stories

5 reasons why baking is good for your mental health

A master sommelier on everything you need to know about five of the most popular grapes

#Papoosegate: Why dads are doing the right thing by wearing a baby sling

Should we all be drinking cactus water now?

More From The Irish Examiner