I AM very proud to come from Rialto. It is an inner city parish that has made me the person I am. I was part of the church choir, the local variety group, the youth club and the 'Summer Camp', (or 'Summer Project' as it was called then).
My mother still lives there and I live 10 minutes down the road at Leonard's Corner.
Rialto is just like any other community. So to hear of a horrendous stabbing that took place there last Sunday fills me with sadness.
A 22-year-old German student, Thomas Henrich, here in Ireland since September, was stabbed and I cannot but think of that boy's family back in Germany. A life cut short by evil maliciousness.
There is no doubt that Rialto, and the neighbouring communities of Crumlin and Drimnagh, are infested with gangland thugs. I saw this creeping in when I was younger, observing groups of boys become more aggressive.
Drugs became the currency for the gangs, and since the 1980s, a world of underground crime has grown, creating moronic animals who have no respect for people or life.
I have never forgotten the two Polish men who were stabbed to death in Drimnagh in 2008. Pawel Kalite and Marius Szwajkos were brutally murdered. Their attacker, that night in 2008, went home to get a screwdriver, and returned to kill the two men.
That murder was so vile, so evil, it was unimaginable that someone could do such an act. And yet here we are again.
Crumlin, Drimnagh and Rialto now have the reputation of being like something out of Love/Hate.
But I went to school in Crumlin, trained for my athletics in Drimnagh and spent my childhood in Rialto. These places are full of decent Dubliners who, like me, are disgusted at the level of crime that has seeped into our communities.
The family of Thomas Heinrich will never be the same. Their pain will never go away.
If I could say one thing to them it would be that I, and everyone else from Rialto, are ashamed, angry and devastated that this has happened.