Steve Collins returns to Limerick 10 years after son’s murder
Roy Collins was killed by members of the Dundon McCarthy gang in 2009
A file image of Steve Collins, father of Roy Collins who was shot dead in Limerick ten years ago, pictured with a photograph of him with his son. Photograph: Press 22
The family fled Ireland in recent years to try and overcome the devastation wreaked on the them by gangland violence and intimidation.
Mr Collins led a campaign, including street marches through Limerick, against the rampant criminality in the city and emigrated after testifying against members of the Dundon McCarthy gang who murdered his son in 2009.
In October 2017, Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen,who are serving life sentences for the murder, had their convictions upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Exactly ten years to the day of the killing of 35-year-old father-of-two Roy at the Coin Castle amusements arcade they ran at Roxboro Road in Limerick, his father said it was time to build a new life for his other son Steven in their home city.
“There is inward investment all the time now (in Limerick), we have the hanging gardens and the likes of that here now,” he said.
“We have invested heavily in a bar here, my son Steven runs it.
“We are trying to rebuild our lives, trying to rebuild Steven’s life, to give him something to hold on to. We were comfortable in this city before all this came on our door, then we were destroyed and devastated in every way - this is a rebuilding thing now.”
Mr Collins said he remains “haunted” by his ordeal.
“It never leaves you... you never expect it to come into your life, the horrific way it happened,” he said.
“It’s a loss you never get over, nobody ever gets over losing a child - it doesn’t matter what age they are. We are just happy to be moving on now.”
Mr Collins praised the support of the people of Limerick who came out onto the streets in solidarity with his family when they began their campaign against gang violence.
“It gave us the impetus to move on and talk to politicians and campaign to get the law changed. I think we’ve achieved that with the 2009 Justice Act,” he said.
“I think Limerick is a different place. When we came back we noticed it how things have changed. The investment is coming into the city now. That wouldn’t happened back in the day, in 2009.
“For such a small city, it was crazy. To get change, it is heartening.”
Mr Collins told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland the change came at a huge cost to his family and the stress has “put an awful burden” on their health.
“We relocated to try rebuild our lives again, but it was tough, we always wanted to come back in Limerick. We sacrificed an awful lot for this city.”
It took the people of Limerick to stand up and say “we are sick of this”, he said, to bring about the changes.
“I’m just so happy it happened… this didn’t just help Limerick - it helped the whole country.”