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'Every parent’s worst nightmare': Tributes paid to Cork student killed in stabbing as murder probe launched

Gardaí in Cork are treating Cameron Blair’s death as murder.

Image: Bandon Rugby/Facebook

Updated Jan 17th 2020, 6:17 PM

A STUDENT WHO died after he was stabbed in the neck in Cork city has been named as Cameron Blair, a 20-year-old talented sportsman and second year engineering student at Cork Institute of Technology. 

A murder probe has been launched following the death of the student from Ballinascarthy, Co Cork, who lost his life after he was attacked when a man was refused entry to a house party at Bandon Road in the city last night.

A post-mortem examination took place at Cork University Hospital this afternoon.

In a statement issued this evening, An Garda Síochána said the results of the post-mortem are not being released for operational reasons.

Gardaí again appealed for anyone who has any information to contact them.

“Anyone who was in the Bandon Road area between 8pm and 10pm who witnessed anything or anyone with dash cam or mobile phone footage is asked to contact Togher Garda Station on 021-494 7120, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda Station,” a statement noted. 

No arrests have been made to date and the investigation is ongoing.

Cameron is survived by his parents Noel and Cathy and brother Alan who attends Bandon Grammar Secondary School.

‘Every parent’s worst nightmare’

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, said that Cameron was well known in the community. 

“As news was breaking of a stabbing incident on Bandon Road, a short distance from my own home in Cork, I tweeted my message of horror and sent my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the young man, his family and friends.

“I now know, this morning, that he was Cameron Blair, a young person from this Church of Ireland Diocese, who attended Bandon Grammar School, and who was confirmed by me in 2013 in Saint Peter’s Church, Bandon. 

He was well-known in his local community, including as a rugby player and athlete. My wife Susan and I share the shock of everyone who lives in this neighbourhood, particularly the student community who are so much at the heart of this area.

“Having had student children myself, I know well that a calamity such as this on a night out is every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart goes out to the Blair family,” Colton said. 

Fine Gael councillor Marie O’Sullivan, who is from Bandon, said that her heart is broken for the beautiful family of the engineering student who passed away shortly after he was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital last night.

“They are an absolutely fabulous family. I have two boys myself and it is terrible to think you could say goodbye to your boys in the morning and they are not coming back to you in the evening. His mother is one of the most gentle people I know.

“He played rugby with his school and had everything going for him. A beautiful child with a beautiful personality. It is a nightmare.”

Cameron Blair is a former pupil of Bandon Grammar Secondary School. In a statement, the school expressed its deep sadness at the passing of the young man.

“It is with great regret that we learned of a tragic incident in Cork last night resulting in the death of a former pupil.  Our school community is deeply affected, particularly senior students as the deceased still has family members in the school. The management and staff extend our sincere condolences go to the family and friends.

Students are being cared for and counselled in school. Classes continue for all year groups as we try to keep the school day as normal as possible while recognising the traumatic impact on many.

Bandon Rugby Club also paid tribute to Cameron who was “a very popular member and current player”, adding that he was due to play a league tonight. 

Cameron’s boyish smile and joy of life left a real indelible mark on anyone he met or any team he played on. He played as he spoke, full of confidence and was a delight to see running a full tilt with a rugby ball.

‘It could have been anyone’

The fatal stabbing occurred shortly after 9pm yesterday in Bandon Road on the southside of Cork city.

The emergency services attended at a terraced house amid reports that a man had been seriously injured. It emerged that the man had staggered on to the road and collapsed.

Cameron was taken by ambulance to CUH where he was treated for a stab wound to his neck. However, he passed away shortly after he was hospitalised.

Students in accommodation in the area have expressed shock at the passing of the young man.

UCC students Dara McCarthy and Shane O’Connell, who didn’t know the victim, said they found it hard to comprehend what had occurred. McCarthy said he was troubled by the incident.

“The scariest part about it is that it could have been anyone. My mother rang me early on. She always says ‘be careful’ and I push her away. But I suppose you can never be too careful. The world has gone mad,” he said.

Shane O’Connell said students had hoped the youth would survive his attack.

“I didn’t believe it at the start. It is horrific. We were hoping for the best and then we heard that the man had passed away.”

The incident has shocked locals in Bandon Road which is on the outskirts of Cork city centre and is a mixture of residential, student housing and businesses.

Gardaí have commenced door to door inquiries in the area to determine if anyone had seen or heard anything suspicious over the course of yesterday evening.

The area is home to a large number of students because of its close proximity to UCC.

An incident room has been set up at Togher Gardaí station and a senior investigating officer has been appointed. CCTV is being gathered.

Anyone with relevant information or video footage has been asked to contact gardaí and not to share it on social media.

With reporting by Adam Daly and Órla Ryan 

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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