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Friday 22 September 2017

'It may seem like business as usual, but to be honest we're all heartbroken'

A garda protects a laneway where Karl Haugh was stabbed. Photo: Eamon Ward
A garda protects a laneway where Karl Haugh was stabbed. Photo: Eamon Ward

Ian Begley

The collective quietness of an entire community made it clear the murder of a young man was having a profound effect on everyone.

The coastal town of Kilkee offers everything one might want during a bank holiday weekend. Weather permitting, the seaside village bestows an abundance of picturesque views and family friendly activities.

It is hard to imagine Kilkee would make national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

News of the brutal killing of Karl Haugh, a popular local in the tight-knit community, spread fast around the town.

A single group of about eight men and women stood together solemnly beside the strand. Not many words were spoken, but it was clear what they were talking about.

"It's a terrible loss, isn't it? I only saw him the other day," said one man. They then stood in heartbroken silence in a bid to offer solidarity and sympathy.

In truth, no words were capable of describing the scale of this tragedy. This event left ordinary people with a profound sense of powerlessness.

At the centre of it all was a family left without a son, and a child robbed of its father.

In the Marion Estate, where the attack took place, neighbours of Mr Haugh stood by their doors and looked out their windows at the garda presence and cordoned-off lane.

One resident, still reeling at the news, said nothing like this had ever happened before in Kilkee. "Things like this just don't happen around here. Everyone here knew Karl … It's just not fair," she said.

A small number of gardaí was dotted around Kilkee during the evening as the town tried its best to function at its usual tranquil pace.

Another neighbour, who has run a local scallop stand for 25 years, seemed to sum up the town's grief.

"It may seem like business as usual, but to be honest we're all heartbroken," he said.

Irish Independent

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