Cameron Blair death: Community in shock after latest traumatic incident in Cork

Shocked locals struggled to comprehend how a promising athlete and engineering student had his life cut short in a "senseless, heartbreaking" incident.

Cameron Blair death: Community in shock after latest traumatic incident in Cork

By Kevin O'Neill and Noel Baker

Shocked locals struggled to comprehend how a promising athlete and engineering student had his life cut short in a "senseless, heartbreaking" incident.

In the biting cold of Friday morning, those on Bandon Road were piecing together the tragic incident that saw a family "robbed of a brother and a son".

Cameron Blair was recalled fondly as a promising and bright student, a popular young man and one who stood up to bullies when others needed him to.

One woman took to Twitter to share her sympathies, recalling Mr Blair as someone who had "in the past tried to help my daughter against her bullies."

"Such a senseless murder," she said.

Staff and students of Bandon Grammar School extended deepest condolences to Cameron’s family and said Senior students and staff, led by chaplain, Revd Anne Skuse, conducted a service of remembrance in the afternoon.

The school also asked parents to talk with their sons and daughters over the coming days regarding the tragic news and for children to avoid suspect social media material.

Eugene O’Brien, principal of Hamilton High School in Bandon where Cameron did his Leaving Certificate, said: "Cameron Blair was a fantastic student of Hamilton High School. He was very bright, very athletic, who had a bright future in front of him. The school community is deeply upset and our thoughts are with his family at this time."

From late on Thursday evening, most of Bandon Road was closed off by gardaí.

The cordon remained in place on Friday morning as investigations commenced.

Some elderly people idled on the street, waiting for gardaí to allow them through the cordon to the post office to collect pensions. They remarked about the "senseless, heartbreaking" loss of life, the latest tragic incident in the area.

Members of the Garda forensic team examine the outside the house on the Bandon Road, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
Members of the Garda forensic team examine the outside the house on the Bandon Road, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

Another local man said the area has transformed in recent years.

"The older people, the settled community has moved off and now there are more and more students," he said.

Most of them are great but there are some who aren't. What is going to happen here? It is heartbreaking. It is a gruesome, horrible incident.

For those living in the area, this is the latest in a number of serious and traumatic incidents.

In September, just 500 metres from where Mr Blair died, 55-year-old Paul Jones was found dead at his home by his son.

It is another "serious, traumatic incident" in the area said Mick Finn, a local councillor who lives on the nearby Friar Street.

"This latest stabbing has taken the life of a young man, a fine sportsman. It has robbed a family of a son, brother. What started as a night out upon return to college has ended in tragedy. Our condolences go to his family, friends and fellow students," he said.

"When you look at the barbarity of these alongside what happened in Boreenmanna Road, and also in Dublin and Dundalk, you can understand why people are fearful and questioning what value is being put on life."

He said extra garda resources are needed to help people feel safe in their homes.

Pat Duggan, who is an employee of the Sportsman’s Arms pub in Bandon Road, said they were shocked when they heard the noise from the street: "Last night we saw the commotion outside. People were afraid to go out. We are in total shock. The area is fantastic. It is just a crazy thing that happened. That poor young fella. To go in to a house with a knife and do that. This just can't go on. I feel so sorry for his family."

Barry Broderick is the owner of Broderick's pharmacy on Barrack Street, located just a few minutes' walk from where the incident occurred.

He said the area has changed a lot in recent years, recalling a number of other violent incidents that have happened in recent months: "I don't think it is a Barrack Street or a Bandon Road thing; it is a societal thing."

Garda members at Connaught Avenue looking over the cliff face above O’Donovan Rossa Road in connection with the death of CIT student Cameron Blair. Picture: Dan Linehan
Garda members at Connaught Avenue looking over the cliff face above O’Donovan Rossa Road in connection with the death of CIT student Cameron Blair. Picture: Dan Linehan

He added, though, that the garda presence in the area is "non-existent".

Staff in a nearby off licence expressed their devastation for the families of those involved.

"No one expects this to happen. It's really sad. It's absolutely devastating," they said.

"He was only starting his life, that’s the worst part."

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