27 March 1997 Edition

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Cork community fights back

On St. Patrick's night a man driving a stolen car knocked down and killed Trevor O'Connell and Stephen Kirby in the Fairhill area of Cork city. The people of the area were devastated and enraged by the needless loss of innocent young lives. A number of concerned residents set about channeling that energy into positive action for a better community.

A meeting of residents was held on Sunday afternoon in the local Na Piarsaigh GAA hall. The meeting was energetic and determined. The press and politicians were excluded; only local residents were allowed to attend.

The people of St. John's Well, Larchfield, Bride Valley View and Fairhill Drive decided to begin a process of taking local action with a parallel policy of communication with their political representatives and state and local authority agencies. They agreed to support a march being organised for Good Friday by neighbours of the two teenagers killed in the stolen car incident. After the meeting the community marched through their own streets to show they were reclaiming them for themselves and their children.

Don O'Leary, who chaired the meeting, was upbeat about the participation of so many in getting things going. He expressed sadness at the fact that two awful deaths had been the catalyst for the community springing into action but was hopeful that the future held hope for the generation growing up in the area. ``People here are determined that this will never happen again and not only that but that our community will begin to go from strength to strength now. We are absolutely committed to making this a safe and happy place to live.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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