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'Irreplaceable' ceramic Santa and reindeer stolen from charity display

76-year-old Des Murphy has staged the display for the last 13 years, and donates the funds to charities like ALONE and the Peter McVerry Trust.

Murphy's display last year
Murphy's display last year
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A HOMEOWNER IN Artane says he’s notified gardaí after a ceramic decoration worth around €150 was stolen from a massive lights display at his home.

76-year-old Des Murphy has staged the display at his home on Thorndale Avenue for the last 13 years, and donates all the funds raised to local charities.

“It’s been getting bigger every year,” he told TheJournal.ie. “I have four singing Santas, and around 250 plugs, all of which have to fit into 16 sockets.”

He said the item, a large ceramic Santa, sleigh and reindeer which he purchased abroad, was taken from the display on Monday.

It’s not the first problem he’s had with thieves. Murphy said he found someone trying to steal decorations last year too.

“He was behind the tree. He said he was ‘just looking’ but I kind of caught him in the act.”

Murphy said the problem was a “bit of a pain” but that he wouldn’t be put off from his efforts.

Takings have been down considerably since the start of the boom, but Murphy still expects to take in “around €8,000″ this year, in comparison to a figure of €16,000 “a good few years ago”.

The money goes to a group of Irish charities and organisations, including the Peter McVerry Trust, Alone and St Michael’s House.

Murphy said the display had been a huge draw over the years, even attracting well-known northside residents from the area.

“We’ve had Bertie Ahern here, Joe Duffy too. They bring their kids along, you know”

He also had some advice for any prospective competitors: “Head to Woodies the day it opens after Christmas”.

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