It is frightening to realise that it was just an hour or so down the road in our sister western city that the brutal killing of Shane Geoghegan took place last weekend. As thousands flocked to his funeral yesterday afternoon, the revulsion in that city is shared by all around the country.
We have all become so accustomed to gangland crime in Ireland that we only tend to let shock register when it is an innocent who is caught up in the crossfire or targeted as Mr Geoghegan was last weekend. However, the reality is that most of the deaths in this horrific chapter of Irish life are innocent as innocent after innocent is lured into a life of dependency and crime, tempted by the vast rewards on offer, blinded by the greed.
There is hope that this will be a turning point in the battle against crime in our fellow western city. We thought that when two children were burned in a car and left disfigured, we thought that when the doorman Brian Fitzgerald was murdered. We thought that the murder of Veronica Guerin would result in such revulsion that such a crime would never be allowed to occur again, but alas, when all the hyperbole dies down, revulsion is just a collection of words and a sick stomach.
Unfortunately all these killings will continue because there are people willing to carry them out and other people too frightened to tell the authorities what they know.
It boils down to preservation. People are reluctant to give evidence against criminals and as long as that continues (and there is nothing wrong with taking a decision to protect yourself and your family ), crimes of this savagery will continue to occur.
Many of those who perpetuate these feuds have been put behind bars but when one is imprisoned, there are plenty of others willing to take up the cudgel. The role models that many of these young men have are the gangsters in jail, individuals who they admire and whom they aspire to emulate.
Limerick is a fantastic city, indeed, its facilities in a wider sphere make Galway’s pale in comparison. The sports centre at Plessey, the National Concert Hall, the fantastic new stadium at Thomond Park, but the reputation of this western city will be tainted as long as this small minority are allowed to do as they please and hurt who they please.
Limerick has been horribly scarred by the actions of a few, and now that the deaths of the innocents are becoming more commonplace, its ramifications are being felt by the entire community.
However, it is often those of us who are most shocked by this killing who are fuelling this fire by continuing to buy recreational drugs in such vast quantities. Quantities so vast, that last week’s multi-ton seizure off the south coast is but a mere drop in the ocean of drugs that are coming into this country and into this city of Galway.
However, it is party cities like Galway and the party culture that has cultivated the drugs industry that is worth €1 billion in Ireland alone. Other cities that might look down their noses at Limerick and their ills, but which in reality are fuelling it. With such vast amounts of money to be made, it is little wonder that disillusioned youths with unsuitable role models are tempted to try their luck in a game of life and death.
Those who are using cocaine tonight should remember that, with every snort they are implicit in the killing of innocents, and are financing the purchase of the arms that have killed him and countless others.