"The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O'Reilly, has said he will restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford after a devastating fire on Christmas morning caused damage estimated at more than €2 million.That €2 million is, I assume, €2,000,000.1 That would make the damage around 2,800,000 USD (xe)
"Gardai in Longford say that, while an investigation is already under way into the cause of the fire, a full forensic examination of the scene will not be possible until the fire services have made the building safe and handed it over to gardaí...."
Arson? Maybe, Maybe NotIf I let my imagination go one way, it's "obvious" that this fire "must be" arson, a response to the Murphy report and a very serious problem with an archdiocese in Ireland caught trying to shield at least one pedophile priest, and cover up the scandal.
But there's no evidence of that. A whole lot of things can go wrong in a building that's over a century and a half old - or any other building.
On the other hand, there's no evidence that it's not arson.
Like I said, investigators aren't being allowed into what's left of the cathedral yet.
I checked, just a minute ago (1:37 p.m. Central). Sure enough, the speculation's starting:
- "Longford Cathedral burns down: Is the Irish Church under attack?"
Will Heaven, Telegraph.co.uk blog (December 26, 2009)
It's 'Obvious?' Not to Me, Not YetThe only thing that seems certain right now is that a fine building, built in the mid-1800s (RTÉ), burned. And that there was a whole lot of damage.
The most recent news reports I saw said that investigators couldn't get inside yet, because the cathedral may not be structurally stable any more.
The fire started sometime after the end of St. Mel's midnight Mass. One report said "The fire is understood to have started just after 5am on Christmas Day." (RTÉ)
For everyone concerned, I hope this fire wasn't arson. That sort of hate isn't good for anyone (September 1, 2009)
This is just a suggestion: but you might consider praying for the Church in Ireland, and for folks living in Longford. They're not having a particularly good time, these days.
"St Mel's Cathedral fire"
longfordleader1, YouTube (December 25, 200)
This is the video which also appears on Patrick Madrid's post, "Christmas Morning Shocker: Majestic Irish Cathedral Destroyed by Fire " (December 26, 2009).
"Longford Cathedral Christmas Day Inferno"
michaelcabz, YouTube (December 25, 2009)
"Christmas morning fire at St Mel's Cathedral Longford"
Definitely amateur video of the fire - whoever's holding the camera tilts it on its side at one point, to get the cathedral's tower in the picture. That's not a criticism: amateur video, that doesn't get cut and spliced by news editors, can give at least as good a 'picture' of what's happened as the more polished professional shots.
"LONGFORD CHURCH FIRE"
DOCDOHERTY2009, YouTube (December 25, 2009)
"This was the scene hours after the fire first occured at st mels cathedral in longford!"
Never mind the all-caps headline and exclamation mark: This is another good bit of amateur video, showing what seems to be a later stage of the fire, with ambient sounds and the voices. Also shows a bit of the streets of Longford: and a reporter and cameraman interviewing a fireman. Firefighter. Whatever.
Posts about the Church in Ireland:
- "Irish Catholic Church Meltdown: I'm Disappointed, But Not Disheartened"
(December 23, 2009)
- "Pedophile Priests: In Ireland This Time"
(December 11, 2009)
- " 'I Hate Barack Obama' - Maybe Not the Best Message from a Pulpit"
(September 1, 2009)
- "Tolerance: Yes, it's a Good Idea"
(August 3, 2009)
- "Three Killed in Tel Aviv Gay Youth Club: There's No Excuse"
(August 1, 2009)
- "Beach Killer Joseph Burges: A Case of Horribly Warped Christianity"
(July 24, 2009)
- "Forgiveness and a Spanish Priest"
(July 23, 2009)
- "Dr. George Tiller's Murder Link Page "
(last updated June 9, 2009)
- "Christmas Morning Shocker: Majestic Irish Cathedral Destroyed by Fire"
Patrick Madrid (December 26, 2009)
- "Investigations continue into major Longford blaze"
Ireland On-Line (December 26, 2009)
- "St. Mel's Cathedral fire destroys Irish national treasures"
IrishCentral (December 26, 2009)
- "Longford Cathedral gutted in fire"
RTÉ (December 25, 2009)
A tip of the hat to patrickmadrid, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this event.
1 Differences between American and British terms for big numbers used to start with 1 times 10 to the ninth, or 1,000,000,000 (" 'billion': a U.K. view" alt-usage-english.org - and there's a rather snippy comment elsewhere online)