By Sarah Mac Donald - 12 July, 2015
Clerics unharmed when presbyteries targeted by armed robbers on Saturday morning.
The PSNI said the robberies took place on Brook Street in Omagh, while the two priests were there and one of the two thieves is believed to have been armed with a gun.
The robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of money.
Local Sinn Féin MLA, Barry McElduff, said he had called to the two priests on Saturday afternoon to express solidarity with them and to let them know that local people are “horrified” by the attack.
“My thoughts are with the two priests,” he said.
The SF MLA added, “I totally condemn this outrageous criminal act and I would appeal to anyone with information as to the identity of the culprits to pass it on to the PSNI.”
PSNI Detective Ian Lyle said, “The two men involved in the armed robbery are described as being aged in their 30s, with local accents and were wearing green jackets and had their faces covered.”
“I would ask anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact detectives at Omagh Police Station.”
“Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111 FREE.”
Sacred Heart parish in Omagh is overseen by Msgr Joseph Donnelly, who ministers along with two curates, Fr Dermot McGirr and Fr Piotr Zimnoch.
Two years ago Cardinal Sean Brady met members of the Gardaí and PSNI to express concern over priests’ safety following a spate of violent robberies against elderly clergymen. His concerns were echoed by the Association of Catholic Priests.