The Irish government has awarded €20,000 in urgent funding to repair the spire of Donegal Parish Church.
The decision was announced by the Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Deputy Joe McHugh, when he visited the Rector of Donegal, Killymard, Lough Eske and Laghey, Archdeacon David Huss, in Donegal Town on Friday morning.
The minister called at the church to see the ongoing repair work to the spire, which he described as “a landmark feature of Donegal Town”. Deputy McHugh also called at the parishes’ outreach centre, The Mustard Seed, in New Row, where he shared a coffee with parish volunteers.
“The award of €20,000 to Donegal Parish Church will help protect the structure of this landmark in Donegal Town for future generations,” Mr McHugh said. “The church had been badly damaged by lightning during a storm and was left with structural problems and there was a real risk that the conditions would deteriorate if the spire was not repaired.
“I am delighted to have been able to confirm the good news in person to Reverend David Huss today and I wish him well, and everyone associated with the parish, as the repair and restoration work takes place in the coming weeks and months.”
Archdeacon Huss said he was grateful to the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht for supporting the restoration work through its Structures at Risk fund. “Our parishioners have a deep affection for Donegal Parish Church and they will be delighted at today’s news,” Archdeacon Huss said. “I think some of them felt at a low ebb after our Christmas Day lightning strike, in 2016, and then the subsequent revelation of extensive damage to our spire and tower. But there’s been a lot of lobbying and a lot of praying since then. Thankfully, today it seems they’ve paid off.
“This award is a huge boost to our fundraising efforts,” Archdeacon Huss said, “and will ensure that the repair work is completed in the near future. The spire has already been completely repointed, and work on the tower is virtually finished. The last significant piece of work is the rebuilding of the church entrance for which, thankfully, we’ve been able to source replacement stone. Once that’s completed – hopefully in the next few weeks – we plan to hold a Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication.”
(Photos by Greg Harkin)
Photo 1, left to right) Gordon Robinson and David Henderson (Select Vestry), Archdeacon David Huss (Rector), Dep. Joe McHugh TD (Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands) and Nigel Elvin (Select Vestry) outside Donegal Parish Church
Photo 2, left to right) The Rector of Donegal Parish Church, Archdeacon David Huss, with Dep. Joe McHugh TD (Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands) and Paul Doherty (architect)
Photo 3, left to right) Louise Bustard (Parish Secretary), Ros Jones (Mustard Seed volunteer), Dep. Joe McHugh TD (Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands), Ven. David Huss (Rector), Justin Irwin (Parish Treasurer) at the Mustard Seed outreach centre