Dundon conviction 'shows people no longer afraid'
Ordinary people now given courage ‘to make that phone call, to assist gardaí and to provide evidence’
John Dundon’s solicitor John Devane, who says his client will appeal his conviction and is prepared to bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA
The chairman of Limerick’s joint policing committee has said John Dundon’s conviction for murdering Shane Geoghegan showed the people of the city were no longer afraid to stand up to criminals.
Dundon was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday for the murder of Mr Geoghegan (28). He was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity as he walked home from watching a match in a friend’s house in Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9th, 2008.
Michael Hourigan said yesterday many members of the community where gangland violence had occurred were often too frightened to co-operate with gardaí in the past.
“This week’s developments show criminal elements aren’t above the law,” Mr Hourigan said. “It gives courage to ordinary people to make that phone call, to assist gardaí and to provide evidence.
“A woman told me recently, ‘when a shot comes through your window, you lay your head down and you don’t say anything’. I think now the fear is easing and those attitudes are changing.”
The former head of Limerick regeneration John Fitzgerald, said the provision of extra policing had helped the fight against organised crime in Limerick. However he added that maintaining resources and political will to deal with underlying social issues would be crucial.
“When I visited the city in 2007, I found seemingly intractable problems and communities devoid of hope, who felt alienated by the State. In fact, they saw the State as the enemy,” he said. “The additional resources have been used well . . . This week, we’ve seen the State is back in control.
“The long-term solution is to keep up the long, hard graft and to convince people that the State is on their side. Real change will need to come from inside the community.”
Mr Geoghegan’s family has declined to comment on Dundon’s conviction, except to say through a legal representative that the “facts of the case speak for themselves”.
Friends and colleagues of the murdered rugby player have asked that he be remembered for the life he led, rather than the circumstances of his death.
Ger Clarke, who was chairman of Garryowen Rugby Club at the time of the murder, said he did not wish to speak about the trial, but about his friend.
“Shane, first of all, was a son, a brother, a friend and a boyfriend – a magnificent, brilliant character, and I hope he’s remembered for that. He was captain of a rugby team. His friends were – and still are – mad about him. . . he was just an outgoing, happy young guy who was part of our life.”
Meanwhile Dundon’s solicitor John Devane said yesterday that his client would appeal his conviction and was prepared to bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
He claimed the case was “railroaded” through the Special Criminal Court. “Had this case gone before a judge and jury, I cannot say that the outcome would have been the same because the evidence that was accepted by the court might have been far more questionable by a jury of anybody’s peers.
“We have also lodged papers in Europe in relation to the way that the Special Criminal Court pushed this case on. We were given 26,000 or 28,000 pages of paper to read by way of discovery that the Madden Finucane Solicitors had obtained two weeks beforehand and we couldn’t possibly read all the material,” he added.
“We were told by the State that there would be nothing new in those materials. We now know that there are other materials that could have been challenged in court and we are going to continue to the European Court of Human Rights and to bring this matter before them.”