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Inner city

President Higgins leads tributes to Dublin community activist Fergus McCabe who has died aged 71

President Higgins said he was part of the “beating heart” of community campaigning.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has led tributes after the death of a community activist in inner city Dublin.

Fergus McCabe died on Thursday aged 71 following a long illness.

He helped force the problem of drug misuse on to the national agenda.

President Higgins said he was part of the “beating heart” of community campaigning.

“The great gift of Fergus McCabe was his genius in moving commitments on paper into the practical lives of members of communities.

“While those of us who knew him will have fond memories of his energy and humour, his loss will be felt most acutely by his family, and Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to his wife Helena, his children, grandchildren and extended family.

“They can be extremely proud of the legacy he has left, through his tireless campaigning for social justice and his exemplary actions of solidarity, sustained by his unshakeable belief in the good of mankind and the potential of young people, irrespective of their backgrounds.”

The president said he advanced the goals of countless initiatives, including the Inner City Organisations Network, the CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign, young people at risk, ministerial taskforces on drugs and other national strategies to reduce the prevalence and impact of substance abuse.

His campaign against heroin use helped transform Ireland’s laws and foreshadowed the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau and a series of official efforts to tackle drug-related problems.

His family said he was committed to social justice and equality, supported and saw the potential of all young people, developed others through sport and music and brought his family and community so much joy.

Figures such as Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Social Democrat Gary Gannon and Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also paid tribute.

Their death notice added: “Hope over cynicism. Prevention over cure. Humanity over dogma.”

He was a founder member of the CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign.

It said he was one of the most passionate campaigners on the drugs crisis facing communities.

“We’re heartbroken but so proud of the legacy he has left and the lives he touched and changed.”

His funeral will be private due to the public health emergency.

His family said: “Those who would have liked to attend and be part of his last farewell are welcome to stand along the funeral cortege route between the Kirwan Funeral Home, Fairview Strand (departing at 2.10pm on Monday, 12th October) and Glasnevin Crematorium, via Summerhill Parade and his home.”

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