Security fears as church pew stolen

Mystery surrounds the removal of a heavy church pew from a church at Ballymacelliggott — a sprawling rural parish between Tralee and Castleisland.

The theft of the four-seater pew from the choir area of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, one of two churches serving the parish, was not noticed until after Mass last Sunday week. This is because the area in question, an upper balcony, is rarely used.

Parishioners were told last Sunday in their newsletter that the pew was missing.

“The fact that it was removed raises a security issue for us, as we wonder what might be taken next,” parish priest Fr Pat Crean-Lynch wrote.

Fr Crean-Lynch has since described the removal as “extremely strange” and said initially parish volunteers believed it had been removed to be cleaned by some good soul.

However, the parish is now convinced the pew was stolen.

The all-wooden pew may have caught the fancy of a pub owner, or somebody keen on interior design, the priest felt. But he remains baffled as to how the pew was removed.

“It’s fairly heavy. And the only way to get it out would have been to lower it out and down over the balcony.”

Thefts of vestments and church items have increased in recent years in the Kerry diocese, with priests’ cars as well as presbyteries being targeted.


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