FOOTAGE OF THE Carrauntoohil cross being felled is being examined by gardaí, TheJournal.ie can reveal.
A video of the five-metre monument being cut down with an angle grinder was sent to and viewed by this website today.
The structure, which was erected on the mountain in 1976, was cut down on or around the 22 November. Gardaí have said that a commemorative plaque was also taken from the summit.
The footage also contains a number of anti-Catholic Church sentiments, indicating that the person or persons involved took this action as a form of protest. The messages focus on the number of Irish primary schools which are run by the Catholic Church.
The dramatic video has been passed onto detectives in Killorglin who said it was a “new development” in the investigation.
The cross was re-erected over the weekend despite some objections from an atheist group which asked for planning permission to be obtained.
It said that the cross did not represent the whole community.
However, other stakeholders were happy to see it being resurrected. Mountaineering Ireland said there has been a cross on the mountain since the early 1950s with the current one in place since 1976.
It believes the monument was part of the “heritage and landscape” of Ireland’s highest peak, adding that the cross had been cut down without debate or the owners’ permission.
The cross is on privately owned land and Mountaineering Ireland says landowners have always allowed recreational access to Carrauntoohil.
When the felled cross was discovered, the local community gathered to decide how to replace it. Groups said they were inundated with offers of help to restore the landmark.
The release of the footage has been condemned by local Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin who said it added a “further sinister element to the incident”.
“What can we expect next? Will these people start burning down churches or attacking people on their way to mass?” he said in a statement.
“This type of behaviour is simply not acceptable. In this country we advocate an attitude of tolerance and understanding of peoples’ beliefs. There is no acceptance of people who take the law into their own hands and show absolutely no remorse by seeking further publicity.
The cutting down of the cross at the summit of Carrauntoohil was an act of shameless vandalism and seeking admiration is utterly disgraceful.
“I would like to commend all the local people involved in putting the cross back in its rightful place so quickly after the incident and I welcome the fact that Gardaí are investigating the footage. I wish them every success in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
First published 2.45pm