Locals brave treacherous conditions to save Church

A local priest has thanked everyone who worked to repair the roof of St Michael’s Church, Creeslough, on Monday last.
Fr John Joe Duffy said the generosity of the men who spent their day shoring up the storm-damaged roof was very much appreciated by the parishioners.
The iconic structure, which was the fifth in a series of seven churches designed by renowned architect Liam McCormick, celebrated its golden jubilee in August. The roof of the church blew off once before, in January 1978, but thanks to the emergency repairs, St Michael’s is now ready once again for the people to enter and to pray.
“More than half the windows in the church were smashed and they came tumbling down and damaged another roof above the sacristy. A lot of plasterwork was also damaged but we could have lost the entire roof and the ceilings of the church would have been completely destroyed.
“Damp was getting in through the broken windows and had lodged in the ceilings. Only for the workers who came out at such short notice the situation could have been a lot worse,” Fr Duffy said.
“It’s hard to estimate how much damage was done but it could take quarter of a million to rectify,” he added.
While Fr Duffy heard a ‘bang’ during the night it wasn’t until he received a phone call at 8.45am on Monday from sacristan John Whoriskey that he realised the damage caused to the church.
“It was quite stormy. A power line came down and some people were without electricity but I didn’t realise the extent of the damage. Only for the fact that Fr Doohan had carried out repairs in recent years it could have been a lot worse.
“The design of these churches, while beautiful, were not really suited to the weather in the North West of Ireland,” he said.
Having surveyed the damage Fr Martin Doohan and Fr Duffy put out a call for help and a building contractor living in the parish was the first to respond. His workers, many other tradesmen, workers and others from the parish, community and other places beyond including a teacher from Belfast worked together to repair the damage.
“They worked under very wet and horribly cold conditions. I want to thank them and those who sourced materials and went to such great lengths.
“Such generosity on the part of these great generous men who left families on a bank holiday on this very cold, wet and blustery day to come out and give of their time is so much appreciated by Fr Martin Doohan, the parishioners and myself,” Fr Duffy said.

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