Meghan’s emotional plea to the community

2 05 2013

Meghan O'Neill

This is the text of the very emotional speech delivered by Meghan O’Neill (sister of stabbing victim Kevin) many thanks Meghan for the permission to publish this

I am here today speaking on behalf of my family about my dearly departed brother Kevin O’Neill. My brother Kevin had an addictive personality; he got in with the wrong crowd and was easily influenced. This lead him down th wrong path.
My family, along with a lot of other families here today, have also been affected by the drugs is our society.
Ballycastle is a small town and the death of my brother has shocked the whole community; even far beyond the streets of Ballycastle have been shocked.
We cannot get away from the fact that even though our own is so small, drugs have taken over. Whilst Kevins death wasn’t exactly related to drugs, his life leading up to his death had been a life full of getting involved with the wrong crowds and drug abuse.
Although my brother had a problem, not one person had a bad word to say about him. He never changed! He never passed anyone by without speaking, and its only over this last week we’ve realised how highly thought of he was. Teachers told my parents, (even though they already knew) of how bright he was, how he was intelligent beyond his years, how he could have become anything he wanted. But Kevin was sucked in by addiction and this left him out of focus.
Other families, like my own, will understand and will have been through exactly what we have. Kevins life put my mother and father through a massive struggle, they fought for years to try and get him sorted, but it was out of their hands.
Drugs tear families apart!!
Anyone who dabbles in drugs or associates with them, do not see the hardship they put their families through. Addiction is a disease, and a very contagious disease that runs throughout our whole community. We need to change this and we need to act. I never want another family to go through the years we’ve had to go through with my brother, watch him waste his intelligence because he was blinded by this disease.

But, Kevin at the age of 25 had started to turn his life around. His girlfriend Lyndsay, was introduced into his life and she was trying her hardest to keep Kevin away from the group that brought drugs to our community.
He told me over a month ago how sorry he was and how he loved us all and could only start to see now, how he had affected our lives. I told him we loved him and always would no matter what, that we forgave him and we were just happy to have Kevin back.
But then for this to happen, and Kevin to be taken away from us, has left us lost for words and completely devastated.

My mother and father can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity and help over the past week. It’s been so overwhelming to us, about how supportive the whole community has been! We will never be able to thank you all enough and we wouldn’t have been able to get through Kevin’s death without this amazing support. It shows you you’re never alone, no matter what you think and we can’t thank you enough. Thank you!!

Community shows solidarity with O’Neill family

28 04 2013


Speaking after attending a candlelit vigil in Ballycastle Diamond organised by Orlaith Campbell in memory of local man Kevin O’Neill who was killed in a stabbing incident in the town a week earlier, Councillor Dónal Cunningham said

“I hope the O’Neill family can find some comfort in the numbers of people from the local community who have turned out tonight in solidarity with them. Seven days ago we were in a state of numbness and shock following the news of Kevin’s death.”

“While the exact circumstances of Kevin’s death are now subject to criminal investigation, it is widely recognised that drugs and the drugs subculture have been linked to his untimely death.”

“It is clear that Kevin was no different from any other young person, many of whom attended his funeral on Friday.  They are good people and need to be protected from the evil of those who pressurise them into drug-taking.”

“The spirit displayed by the community tonight  is something we can take forward. We must all stand together with our neighbours, and ensure that our community is not abandoned, and that the drug sub-culture is not allowed to take any further hold. The effect of drugs and the crime they generate will tear the heart out of both our community and our young people – but only if we let it”