DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 19, 1998     vol. 9, no. 97

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          DUBLIN (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Desmond Connell of Dublin on Sunday described the shooting of a former Republican councilor in a Dublin church during a First Communion service on Saturday as "sacrilege."

          Larry O'Toole and his son, Larry Junior, were shot in St Joseph's Church, Ballymun, sending 60 children, mostly 7-years-old, fleeing in terror. O'Toole was formerly a Dublin city councilor for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. He was attending the First Communion of his eight-year-old granddaughter Laura.

          Six hundred people -- including 60 first Communicants -- were in the church when a gunman walked in, fired two shots into the ceiling, then opened fire on O'Toole, hitting him in the back. Father Terry Twohig, who was celebrating the Mass, said he believed at first that the gunman was shooting blanks. "I spent 30 years in the Philippines and was used to the sound of gunfire," he said. "Suddenly, when the gunman shot Mr. O'Toole, I realized it was for real."

          The gunman ran from the church, chased by members of the congregation. He turned and fired again, hitting O'Toole's son in the chest. The gunman was caught within 100 yards and was kicked and beaten. Police arrived shortly afterwards and arrested the 24-year-old man, who is believed to be local. The gunman and the O'Tooles are recovering in hospital.

          Police believe the shooting was drug related, as Sinn Fein have been active in setting up anti-drug vigilante groups in working-class areas of Dublin. Archbishop Connell said it was most distressing that young children should have been witness to such an event.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 19, 1998       volume 9, no. 97


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