herald

Sunday 16 December 2018

'We're living in fear of being caught in crossfire' - parents

Parents with children in St Peter and Paul's School, who witnessed the violence of the feud in which Benny Whitehouse was involved, say they fear being caught in the crossfire of a reprisal.

The father-of-two had just dropped his young daughter to the school, where she attends first class, at 9am yesterday when he was blasted to death as he got back into his car.

But having witnessed first-hand how the feud exploded onto the street outside the school last November, parents said it was only a matter of time before somebody was killed in the ongoing dispute.

"I'm not really surprised. The only thing that surprised me is that it didn't happen a long time ago," said one mother.

"We've been through all this before last November with the attacks outside the school, and everyone thought back then that it was going to lead to a killing, maybe of an innocent person," she added.

"Nobody wants to see anybody killed. No matter what the situation in the background, this man was a dad to two children," said another. "But the fear here for a long time is that some innocent child or parent would suffer due to the recklessness of others.

"There were people really scared here when there was fighting outside the school late last year."

And while the situation and tensions did calm down, at least on the streets around the school, people now feel that relative peace shattered yesterday will lead to more violence.

fear

"Things did die down a bit, and maybe we started feeling safe again, but after what has happened we're all back to square one - living in fear of getting caught in the crossfire," said another woman with a young toddler standing at the school gates waiting for a child to come out.

"One with a gun. That's all it took. Now what next?" another woman said, summing up the feelings of her group of friends and neighbours with just a few words.

"Are we now back to waiting for the reprisals, the retribution, an eye-for-an-eye and a tooth-for-a-tooth and all that?" she asked.

"That man just left his daughter into school and that happened to him. Now I don't feel safe on the street again," she added.

Another mother said she was now considering moving her child to another school.

"I'd hate to have to do it because this school is a great school, but I'm sick and tired of all this fighting now. My nerves are gone," she said.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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