BISHOP of Limerick Brendan Leahy has said the “gangland rules of silence” in Limerick have been “overturned” and that the conviction of John Dundon has helped “draw a line in the sand regarding a particularly insidious threat to us all and build upon the great potential of our city”.
Bishop Leahy made his most outspoken comments yet since his ordination on Saturday when he said that Limerick could take solace in the significance of last week’s triumph over gangland evil - the conviction of John Dundon for the murder of innocent man Shane Geoghegan.
Speaking in St Mary’s Church at a vigil Mass on Saturday night, Bishop Leahy remembered Shane’s family in his comments.
“It came with the news of the conviction of the murderer of an innocent man, the twenty-eight year old noted rugby player and fan, the late Shane Geoghegan. Media outlets reminded us of the horrific facts of his murder. Hearing or reading about the evil intentions and recklessness involved as well as the callous indifference to life was indeed chilling. We remember his family especially at this time,” he said.
Bishop Murray said publicity around the trial had evoked the “horrible spectre” of gang rivalry and crime.
“We heard of criminality that was lurking all around us in various parts of this city at that time. Thankfully the gangland rules of silence have been overturned by those prepared to speak words of truth and to work for truth and justice.”
He paid tribute to gardaí, the legal system, the judiciary and the various witnesses for playing their part in the high profile trial, the outcome of which has allowed the Limerick to say “enough, no more, this is horribly evil; it is not worthy of the dignity of our city”.
“Naming an evil, though often painful to do, is always a necessary moment in overcoming it. When I was appointed to Limerick, as well as congratulating me, one of the things people said to me, half-serious, half-joking: ‘Isn’t Limerick the crime capital of Ireland?’
“It irritated me and yet I had to recognise that criminal violence and social problems have been part of this city’s story and had to be named. But they are only part of the story. That’s why I was so pleased to hear someone say to me at an event in Dublin this week, the evening after the conviction: ‘Since yesterday we know now, Limerick is different’.
“And I also met a young man who told me he studied here and really liked our city. The reality is that those, like me, who get to know Limerick, the true Limerick, love Limerick,” added the bishop.
He continued: “Yes, Limerick is a wonderful city along the Shannon, with a fine history, dignified buildings, literary figures and artistic achievements.
“In recent times, there is a new energy around. We have the 2030 plan in place, full of ambition and vision. New civic arrangements are being put in place that are bringing the city and county together. The Limerick Year of Culture is just around the corner. Our airport in Shannon is resurgent. Physical regeneration is starting to take shape. Many steps have been taken to create a better place for all of us.
“So we can take solace in the significance of this week’s triumph over gangland evil because it has helped us draw a line in the sand regarding a particularly insidious threat to us all and build upon the great potential of our city.”