Locals remember murder victim was ‘good father’

MICHAEL “Danser” Ahern was an infrequent visitors to his family home on the Northside of Cork city.

But among local people memories of the 38-year-old were seemingly untainted by his shady background. In some cases, there was a tone of regret as people thought of his violent death.

His former partner, Eileen O'Donovan, with whom he had two teenage boys, Daniel and Stephen, was not at her home on Dunmanus Park in Knocknaheeny yesterday. It was left to others in the locality to stress that she was "a lovely woman" and that Danser was himself "a good father."

One woman, who did not wish to be named, revealed that while Ahern was "rarely" seen in the area, his sons used to go away on holidays with him every year. Eileen and her children, described as "a very respectable family", are said to have wanted for very little. The two boys, meanwhile, "are the head off their father."

Many in Churchfield and Knocknaheeny said they didn't really know the man described as a career criminal, and that his absence from the area had not been felt.

His sister, along with his mother Lillian, still live in Churchfield but Ahern's nephew yesterday declined to comment on the events of the past few days.

One woman living in the area said of Ahern: "He was great with the children they had the best of everything."

Another woman said that Ahern was "a nice old chap."

"Danser's gone a good few years," she said. "I was only laughing yesterday that it seemed like it was only January since he was gone.

"It's a shame, to be honest with you. I suppose no one sent him to do what he done, but still. You never know who's going to knock on your door."

As the drizzle fell over the area, children swung their schoolbags as they returned from school and mothers carried the shopping home. It is a scene that Danser Ahern, like so many involved in drug crime, will never see again.

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