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Ancient mummified remains ‘destroyed’ and man arrested after fire set in crypt at Dublin church

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Dublin Fire Brigade and gardaí were called to the scene and the fire was put out. No injuries were reported.

The mummies at St Michan’s Church crypt.

Mummified remains many centuries old have been destroyed after a man set a fire in the crypt of a historic Dublin church.

The incident unfolded around 4.30pm today at St Michan’s Church on Church Street in Dublin 7.

It’s understood the man gained entry to the crypt and then lit a fire. A man was later arrested in connection with the incident.

A statement from the Church of Ireland confirmed the “historic crypt of St Michan’s was broken into and vandalised this afternoon”.,

“A fire was lit in the crypt which houses a number of mummified remains, including those of the 800-year-old ‘Crusader’. It is feared that at least some of the remains have been destroyed in the incident”.

Archbishop Michael Jackson visited St Michan’s this evening. Afterwards he said:

“I am devastated to say that vandalism has once again struck in the crypt of St Michan’s, Church Street. The Fire Brigade was called and members dealt with the fire. However, significant damage has been done to the mummies. These historic remains are woven into the history of the city of Dublin and emblazoned in the imaginations of visitors and tourists from home and abroad.

“We do not yet know what the future is for the mummies as the Archdeacon of Dublin and I fear that they have been destroyed. These mummies are a national treasure and I am shocked at the sacrilege of the destruction of the remains of people who once lived.”

Archdeacon David Pierpoint, who is the Vicar of St Michan’s added: “Our security system is very tight and thankfully we have CCTV in operation. The footage has been handed to the Gardai and the investigation is in their hands. We are very grateful to the Gardai and Fire Brigade for their efforts and support in putting out the fire.

“The crypt is a crime scene but I have just been given access to see the damage. The mummies are sitting in a foot of water. They need a very specific atmosphere and I fear that at least two of the remains, including the Crusader, have been destroyed. I will contact the National Museum to see if anything can be saved.”

Dublin Fire Brigade and gardaí were called to the scene and the fire was put out and the area made safe. No injuries were reported.

A full forensic examination is currently underway.

A garda spokesperson said: “A man was later arrested in connection with the incident, for an alleged offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1991, and is currently detained pursuant to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at a garda station in the Dublin area.

“Investigations are ongoing.”

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