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Protestant church in Kilbroney has clock damaged weeks after tricolours were flown

The damaged clock face at Kilbroney Parish Church in Rostrevor. Picture courtesy of Edward Woolly
Joanne Sweeney

A PROTESTANT church in Co Down has had its century-old clock damaged just weeks after tricolours were erected above its bell tower.

A representative of Kilbroney Parish Church in Rostrevor last night described the damage as “wanton vandalism”.

In March tricolours were flown from scaffolding at the Church of Ireland church which is undergoing essential maintenance work.

At the time Newry, Mourne and down Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Ruane condemned the action but said he believed it to be a “one off incident”.

Sinn Féin activists said they removed the flags which were put up around St Patrick's Day.

Workmen discovered damage to the clock on March 31 but the details have just emerged. The damage is believed to have been caused the previous night.

The clock sits two thirds up the church tower and was hidden from public view, covered in sacking cloth during the maintenance work.

Dr Kennedy Roberts, honorary secretary of the church’s select vestry, said that police believed those behind the damage had climbed up the scaffolding surrounding the church.

“We don’t know who did this, why it was done or anything about it,” said Dr Roberts.

“We assume that someone must have climbed up the scaffolding as it seems it would be impossible that a stone or projectile could have hit it. It seems almost like wanton vandalism.”

Installed in 1911, the clock is maintained by the Newry, Mourne and Down council, which had an electric motor fitted some years ago.

Dr Roberts said that the repair of the clock may not be straightforward as it was built more than 100 years ago by renowned clock makers Smith of Derby, England.

Parishioners have been fundraising to help with the church restoration project, raising £210,000 to date.

Police have appealed for information.

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