The grave of the late Liam Coady from where the ornamental pebbles were mysteriously removed.

Mayo gardaí investigate disappearance of ceramic stones from grave

A CRIMINAL act or the work of feathered fiends?

That’s the big question surrounding the disappearance of a large quantity of ceramic pebbles from a grave in the smaller of the two cemeteries beside Lough Lannagh, Castlebar.

The expensive, glossy pebbles had been placed with loving care by the family of the late Liam Coady on his grave following his untimely death, aged 64, in 2010.

Liam, a former chairman of the old Castlebar Urban Council, worked for nine years as official driver for Deputy Enda Kenny during his term as Fine Gael leader.

Gardaí have now been asked to try to ascertain whether the decorative stones were stolen or whether unlikely culprits – crows – were involved.

The theft of the glossy pebbles by feathered culprits all over Ireland is being increasingly documented.

Ballina-based monumental sculptor Gerry Ginty says he has encountered a number of instances where crows have landed en masse gobbling up pebbles.

“There is even video evidence of this happening,” Mr. Ginty, a member of Mayo County Council, stated.

He added: “I would absolutely hate to think that the graves of loved ones are being plundered for profit.”

Kathleen Coady, widow of the late Liam, said eight bags of stones, which were helping to keep her husband’s grave bright and clean, had gone missing.

Mrs. Coady said she and her daughter, Regina, were deeply shocked following the discovery.

“Liam had the height of respect for graves and visited them often.

“He could just could bear to see graves that were not kept tidy and respected,” she said.

Mrs. Coady was sceptical of the theory that thieving crows might be involved.

“These stones would have been too big to fit in a crow’s mouth,” she contended.

Councillor Blackie Gavin, cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, is also dubious of the ‘crow’ conjecture.

He has written to Superintendent Joe McKenna, head of the Castlebar Garda District, asking that CCTV footage from the Lough Lannagh area be examined to determine whoever was responsible for what he described as ‘an outrageous act’.