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Mourners line the streets in farewell to anti-drugs activist

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Mourners in the inner city applaud as the coffin of Fergus McCabe passes by

Mourners in the inner city applaud as the coffin of Fergus McCabe passes by

Colin Keegan

Mourners in the inner city applaud as the coffin of Fergus McCabe passes by

Summerhill Parade in Dublin's north inner city came to a standstill yesterday as a large gathering of mourners paid their respects to community activist and anti-drugs campaigner Fergus McCabe who died last week aged 71.

Lining the cortége route from Fairview Strand to Glasnevin cemetery, they clutched bouquets and fought back tears as they sang his poignant song of hope Inner City Song, while the hearse bearing his remains and a guitar-shaped floral tribute wound through the streets of his beloved inner city.

In a brief service that was streamed live, his daughter Ella said: "Driving here today and seeing people line the streets, wishing him well and singing the Inner City Song was just breathtaking and he would have absolutely loved it."

The Marino native was described as 'the beating heart' of inner city Dublin by President Michael D Higgins when Mr McCabe died last Thursday following a lengthy illness.

He said the veteran community activist and social worker was highly regarded for his tireless crusade against illicit drug abuse which has decimated many communities.

He also spoke warmly of him as a man who chose "hope over cynicism" and "advanced the goals of countless" social justice and equality projects.

Mr McCabe spearheaded the Inner City Organisations Network and the CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign.

He was also actively involved in helping to promote positive lifestyles for youth-at-risk with such organisations as Young People At Risk, the National Substance Misuse Strategy Committee and the National Oversight Group on the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy.

Wisdom

His daughter read a poignant tribute he made to his wife Helena.

"Throughout our time together and no more than now in my dying days, her care and love, respect and wisdom, have been exceptional.

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Fergus McCabe

Fergus McCabe

Fergus McCabe

"We had a really happy time and so much fun. And anything I did in life or work bore her kind imprint."

His family, including his children Ella, Kathy and Eoin, requested that mourners simply "please help a friend" in lieu of flowers.