Black and white start to city’s 20-year feud

A photographic exhibition has unexpectedly revealed an image of a Limerick boy whose murder was to set in train the vicious feud which caused death and bloodshed in the city for nearly 20 years.

The picture is one of 100 black and white prints which depict the work of businessman, Gerry Andrews during the period 1971-1980 when he was a keen amateur photographer.

When he put his collection together, he was unaware that his inquisitive lens had focused on Patrick Pa McCarthy, whose poignant story emerged when the pictures went on public view at the Hunt Museum.

Mr Andrews, 59, said: “I did not get the names of the people I photographed, mostly at the old Milk Market on Saturday mornings. When I decided to exhibit my work, I needed captions and compiled captions from poetry and quotations I felt appropriate for each image.

“I also put together photocopies of the pictures in reduced sizes to try and get visitors to the exhibition to identify people in my photographs.

“One of the pictures was of a teenage boy I took at the Milk Market. He struck me as being particularly assured, wore stylish clothes and was well groomed. He was a young lad who stood out from the crowd, that’s for sure. So for his picture, I captioned it: ‘Looking for fun and feeling groovy’.”

Mr Andrews then discovered the boy’s name from a visitor to the exhibition — and what became of him.

“A member of his family came to view the exhibition and immediately recognised him and related his story to me. He was Patrick Pa McCarthy. In 1993 he was stabbed to death. On the night his funeral took place a gunman entered their family caravan at The Cooperage and shot his brother dead. This was to start the feud in Limerick.

“When I took the picture Pa McCarthy was 15, young and full of life. It is one of the stories which has come out of the exhibition.”

At the time he took his pictures, Mr Andrews worked at the lithographic department in the Limerick Leader and later set up his own print company in Dublin employing 120.

He now plans to publish a 200-page hardback book with all 100 pictures and with narratives of the lives of many pictured in his collection, including the sad story of Pa McCarthy.

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