Injured priest recovering from vicious hammer attack

November 4, 2013

A vicious assault on a local priest, in which he was savagely beaten and robbed in his home, has been met with outrage throughout the community.

Dromintee Parish Priest, Fr. Dermot Maloney, was alone in the parochial house on Main Street, Jonesboro when he was confronted by three youths who had forced their way into his home around 11.30pm on Wednesday.

It’s believed the teenage intruders, one of whom is alleged to be just 14 years of age, climbed over a locked gate and came through the back door of the property.

Using a hammer, the assailants beat Fr. Maloney about the head, demanding money.  Pleading with them to stop, he told them repeatedly that there was no cash kept in the house.

However, the defenceless priest was punched in the face with such force that a tooth was knocked out.  He sustained significant injuries including a black eye, bruising and a serious cut to his lip, requiring hospital and dental treatment.

The attackers then locked the priest in the bathroom of the house before searching the property for money.  They fled with a small sum of cash intended as charity donations.

After waiting about twenty minutes to ensure his attackers had gone, Fr. Maloney escaped through a window and made his way to neighbours to raise the alarm.

The callous attack comes just two weeks after a similar incident at the parochial house in Crossmaglen.  Having been threatened by the intruders, mercifully, the priest was not injured on that occasion.

Following Wednesday’s brutal attack, police have appealed to anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the area or who has any information in relation to the crime, to contact them.

Local politicians were united in their condemnation of those responsible.

Sinn Fein MLA, Megan Fearon, along with her colleagues Anthony Flynn and Packie McDonald, visited Fr. Maloney after the attack and said he is “extremely shaken”.

“I am disgusted that people would target anyone in our community in this way.  I hope that Fr Moloney recovers from his physical injuries quickly and that he has the strength of mind to put this attack behind him.  I call on anyone with information on this robbery to contact the PSNI,” Miss Fearon said.

Fr. Maloney, who is also chaplain at St. Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, has been left badly shaken by the ordeal and has been inundated with support from parishioners and the wider community.