Steve Collins has indicated that his family might return to Ireland now that his son’s murderers have been jailed for life.
Despite losing his son, Roy, 35, by helping to prosecute a criminal, he also encouraged anybody in a similar position to do the same.
He was speaking outside the Special Criminal Court, after Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen were found guilty of Roy’s murder at the amusement arcade he ran in Limerick.
“Our 10-year nightmare is over. Justice has been served today and maybe now my family can get on with their lives,” he said yesterday. “It’s been a dreadful time for us.
He thanked the gardaí, the legal team, politicians, and the public.
“I’d like to thank the guards for their dedication, everything they’ve done for us, the way they’ve kept up with this and kept things going and never gave up on chasing these thugs,” he said, adding that the legal team had been fantastic and presented a great case.
He thanked former justice minister Dermot Ahern and former defence minister Willie O’Dea, who he said always stood by him and helped to change laws to bring about such prosecutions.
“To the people of Limerick, who came out and marched with us and helped to campaign to get justice for my son. It just wouldn’t have happened without these people,” he said. “I’m just glad that Limerick is going to repair itself from all these thugs,” he added.
He admitted he thought that this day might never come: “It could have gone against us. But, I think the legal team was fantastic and presented a great case.”
He said it was surprising that criminal gang associates and relations testified against the murderers.
“His evidence was credible,” he said of Anthony McCarthy.
“He’d nothing to gain from it. That was proved in court. When you’ve nothing to gain from it, you have to take it at face value.”
He described his family as brave and said he hoped they would be able to return to Ireland.
“It’s not nice to be exiled, to be told to leave a country. If you want to do things like that, that’s fine, but if you’re forced to do it, it’s not so good.
“I’d like to think that some day we can come back and try to rebuild our lives back here again because this is our home.”
He said it was tough to have to wear a bullet-proof vest and be escorted by gardaí. “It’s a horrible experience and nobody should have to go through this,” he said.
“We were innocent people, just running a business and these people came into my life. It could happen to anybody. They just destroyed my life, destroyed my business, destroyed everything, destroyed our family, their young lives destroyed, the way they couldn’t even go out,” he said.
Despite this, he said he would advise those in the same position to face down the criminal gangs. “You see, sometimes you just don’t have a choice. It’s the only thing that you can do,” he said.
“You have to trust the justice system. You have to trust the guards because you’re a civilised human being. These animals — you don’t go down the same road as them. You have to look to the justice system.
“I’d recommend anyone to stand up because if you don’t get out of their clutches, you’ll never get out of their clutches.
“This is the only way to sort this out, to bring them to the courts and get justice.”
He said of his son: “He was wonderful, a wonderful man, a wonderful son, a son that I’m so proud of. I love him. I love him. I love him.”
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