Gardaí in Tralee are investigating criminal damage to the town’s Christmas crib, in which the figure of St Joseph was subjected to a violent attack in the early hours of Sunday.
The strong clear perspex covering which protects the nativity scene was broken and pulled aside.
The figure of St Joseph was smashed and his head was removed.
The nativity scene was erected over a week ago in Tralee’s modern town square and is part of a major Christmas festival.
The festival was officially opened by the mayor of Tralee, Terry O’Brien and the lights were switched on by local man and Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy.
Mr O’Brien said he was very disappointed at what he hoped was a once-off by “a nit wit” with too much Christmas cheer.
“This is a very old nativity set and the figures will be hard to replace, I have been told,” Mr O’Brien said.
The vandalism occurred in the early hours of Sunday, gardaí have confirmed.
The scene was not sealed off but an investigation of criminal damage is being conducted which will include an examination of items at the scene and CCTV footage.
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