A full time pagan priest wants the theft of a statue of the Irish God of the Sea Manannán Mac Lír to be treated as a hate crime.
Patrick Carberry, who says he left his job as a chef to become a full time “Traditional Celtic Shamanic priest”, said the theft of the statue was a religious hate crime committed against people of his faith.
After the spectacular statue was stolen from the viewing point at Gortmore on Binevenagh mountain, a wooden cross along with the words ‘you shall have no other Gods before me’ was found in its place.
Patrick Carberry is the founder and Sovereign of the Order of the Golden River, based in Belfast.
“It is my full time job, I am one of the few full-time pagan priests. I gave up my job as a chef,” he said.
“If a pagan stole a statue from a Christian church and left a pagan one in its place it would make world news.”
Police say they are investigating the religious element to the theft, which has caused outrage throughout the local community.
Mr Carberry said pagans are a sizeable religious minority in Northern Ireland, although many people are afraid to reveal their beliefs for fear of persecution.
“There is a large community in Belfast alone and there are large communities across Ireland,” he said.
“People are afraid to admit that they have these beliefs because they might lose their jobs.
“Paganism is the original religion of this land.
“We worship many gods and goddesses. In Ireland we are associated with the Celtic gods. Manannán would fall into that category.”
He said the theft of the statue was symptomatic of widespread discrimination against pagans:
“This theft is a great loss to the local community,” he said.
“It was great to see such a statue and tribute to the old way of our land.
“They hide in the night, in the darkness and steal. They are nothing but cowards.
“If they were truly religious they would stand up and say proudly I did this in the name of God.
“But that won’t happen because the world would see them for what they are - thieves, cowards.”
The attached video shows the Manannan Mac Lir statue being sculpted by John Darren Sutton
Read more on this story via the links below...
Irish sea god stolen via Londonderry Sentinel
Game of Thrones sculptor shocked as Limavady sea god statue sabotaged via Derry Journal
£10k ‘sea-god’ statue stolen via Tyrone Times
Sculptor shocked after sea god statue stolen from mountain via Newsletter
Facebook campaign to bring back stolen sea god statue via Derry Journal
Why was statue commissioned? via Newsletter
Sea god still missing after police search via Derry Journal
Funeral director offers reward for return of statue via Derry Journal
Statue theft makes world news via Londonderry Sentinel
Mystery of missing sea god goes global via Derry Journal
Sugden angry about theft of Manannán Mac Lir statue via Coleraine Times
Bizarre theft of six-foot Manx god via Isle of Man Today
Manannán mac Lir: The tale behind the myth via Derry Journal