Immunity offered — if Virgin Mary statue thief ‘repents’

A college student union has offered a safe haven for the sinner who stole a statue of the Virgin Mary if they want to repent and make right their wrongs.

Residents of Horgan’s Buildings near University College Cork awoke on Tuesday morning to find that the statue of the Virgin Mary that had formed the centrepiece of their neighbourhood grotto had disappeared — and with Fresher’s Week now in full swing, a light-fingered student is being blamed for the theft.

UCC’s Students’ Union has since intervened, and has called on whoever is responsible to anonymously drop off the statue to its office, no questions asked.

“We don’t know if it was a student, but we would call on whoever it was to return it,” UCC Students’ Union president, Mark Stanton said. “Maybe, someone thought it was funny at the time, woke up this morning and though ‘God, what have I done?’ They might be so ashamed of what they did that they would be too embarrassed to give it back, but they can return it to our office in complete confidentiality,” he said.

“If this person still thinks this is funny, we would ask that if any of the 99% of the student population who are decent would tip us off, if they know where it is.”

Mr Stanton described the theft as “completely inappropriate” and said the Students Union had been making a concerted effort to foster positive engagement between students and residents living around the campus.

The Students Union recently hosted a barbecue for local residents, and some 30 students have volunteered to take part in the Student Community Support scheme. The initiative sees students policing students at night and making sure they return safe from nights out.

“They are absolute heroes. They are out until the small hours of the morning. I have seen them sweep up and pick up glass after someone kicked over a bin. I can’t give them enough credit,” Mr Stanton said.

“Most residents are reasonable; they know you are only young once. But we are asking students to keep it down at night. They wouldn’t want it happening to their grandparents, so we ask them not to keep residents awake at night,” he said.


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