Colm shone a light on a dark place

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #34275 by John Duignan
Colm shone a light on a dark place was created by John Duignan

Picture of Stephen Hughes


Orwell is a club that never stops amazing me. Even with the lockdown, the Leisure cycles continued to bring smiles and miles .

Colm Featherstone's September Crime in the City was different. He brought crime scenes to Life going right back to the 1970's. His last visit was the most unsettling. Here , was not the past but ongoing poverty and the children trapped in it in the suburbs we cycle by.


It had been a fascinating tour with Colm of Dublin crime scenes. His long experience on the force gave life to tales of intrigue , spying , murder and mayhem as we toured South Dublin. His ready wit brought alive again the stories of his Kilmacud neighbour , John Wyman and his M16 connections in the 1970s. The IRA killing of the British Ambassador in Glencairn was next . Lamb Doyle’s brought to mind drug dealing Larry Dunne . The heinous murder of Patricia O Toole at Mount Venus. Stocking Lane reminded us of the Don Tidey kidnapping and Woodtown Jewish Cemetery had a link to Veronica Guerin’s murder. Killinarden Post Office reminded us of Martin Cahill and his Tiger Kidnappings. This was his Irish Crime Tapestry, a world separate from the everyday.

Rossfield was different. As we cycled into the estate, a group of children gathered on the pavement. A lad , mabye nine years of age, in army peaked hat, wizened and old beyond his years cycled his BMX alongside us , asking what we wanted. He was unsettlingly adult. The gang of children stared at us . We must have seemed from another planet on our flash racing bikesand expensive rainjackets as we pulled up at a house with graffiti covered corrugated hoarding alongside it. The adjacent shops were shuttered and empty. Although long past noon, two pre teen girls passed in their pyjamas and slippers .

Here , Stephen Hughes, aged twelve years , burnt to death in a hut he had built alongside the house. His fourteen year old friend barely escaped with his life. A local drug dealer set the hut on fire. He resented the presence of Gardai, who called from time to time to check in on Stephen at his mother’s request. Years later , an eery sadness hangs in the air, made worse by the dejected looking children nearby.

If you look this up online , Stephen’s smiling face greets you . Look again at the picture and you will see the flowers at the wall outside the house and his name in bold letters in the graffiti. If you can make a donation this Christmas, please think of St Vincent de Paul and mark your donation for the Rossfield area. Colm is planning a link for those who would like to help fund a project in the area.

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Last edit: 1 year 4 months ago by John Duignan.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jackie Smith, Leonard Kaye, Peter McGrath

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