‘He was a harmless lovable young fellow’ - Father Peter McVerry remembers victim of latest gangland murder
Homeless charity campaigner Father Peter McVerry has described the man who was shot dead yesterday in the latest gangland attack in the city as a “harmless lovable young fellow”.
Father-of-three Martin O’Rourke was shot twice in the face on Sheriff Street in broad daylight yesterday.
Gardai believe the dad-of-three was an innocent bystander in a botched revenge hit by the Kinahan gang in the latest murder in the Hutch-Kinahan feud.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, the homeless campaigner said he knew Martin O’Rourke "very well".
“Martin had a drug problem, which he was trying to address. He was trying to become drug free. A couple of years ago, he became drug-free. I brought him down to I brought him to a drug treatment centre in an effort to get drug free in Athlone but unfortunately he relapsed back into drug use.”
Father McVerry described the shooting as a “total tragedy for him, his family and his friends”.
The homeless campaigner said the current feud between the Hutch and Kinahan gangs was “extremely dangerous because it’s gotten so personal.”
He said: “It’s not about money, it’s not about territory and there doesn’t seem to be anyway of stopping it.”
Father McVerry said the only way to defeat gang culture was for people to give evidence against them.
“That was what destroyed the Dundon-McCarthy gang in Limerick. But it comes at a terrible price because people die. People who give evidence face serious threats to their lives and their families.”
He argued that the gardai can’t be held responsible for stopping every murder.
“The garda can’t be on every street all the time. They don’t have the resources. Their hands are tied. They have had some success in intercepting weapons and stopping some killings, but it is a case of just delaying the inevitable.
“These gangs aren’t going to stop because one or two of their members get arrested. Yes, the gardai presence is a help but you can’t have gardai on every street corner.”