Monday, May 11, 2009


We have to stay on message.

It is easy for all of us to get lost in the condemnation and the squinting of eyes and the boiling anger. An innocent man is gunned down on the streets of our city and it sparks a tide of fury. That much we know.

But like all tides it will roll back and everything will be as it was: the sand, the shells, the drugs and the blood.

Five thousand people marched on Sunday to show that they had had enough. That was admirable. But at the core of this is a terrible human tragedy that will stay with the Collins family forever.

Tomorrow, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern will present his new legislation for no jury Special Criminal Court trials for senior gang figures and surveillance gathering to the Cabinet. He will no doubt use the images of yesterday's march to add the urgency needed to pass these measures into law.

But between now and the day that organised crime in Limerick is brought to its knees, many more men will die.

Some will be teenagers from Lenihan Avenue not enrolled in school who ferry drugs for the wrong people and will be shot because of it.

Others may be 30-year-old family men who may or may not have slighted a Dundon or a McCarthy or will be in the wrong place at the wrong time but will have their lives taken nonetheless.

Each death will provoke fury, be it in a ripple or a current. But the opinions of us, the decent members of civil society, must be anchored on one thing more than any other - the human loss; the realisation that mothers just like our own will be scarred by grief.

That sense of mourning and loss comes from our respect for human life. It is what separates us from theses murderous criminals.

As this fight goes on and on, it will become the most powerful weapon we have.

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