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heartless act Grandmother who founded suicide awareness project hits out at 'evil' thugs who defaced mural in Cork

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A grandmother who founded a suicide awareness project has condemned thugs who defaced a mural dedicated to those who lost loved ones to suicide.

Margaret O'Callaghan (63), from Charleville in Co Cork, lost her brother to suicide in 1994 and a son in similar circumstances two years later, was speaking after the mural in the plaza in the town had the word 'B***h' and the sentence 'F**k off Mags' written across it just over a week ago.

She told SundayWorld.com: "I'd call whoever done this evil, I really would, I don't know why they did, I don't even know if it was personal and I certainly don't know who did it, but if it is personal then have the guts to come and face me and tell me what the problem is.

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"This is not my wall, this belongs to the people of Charleville, I'm not the only one in this town to have lost family to suicide and I'll say one more thing to whoever thought it was clever to vandalise the mural, I hope the pain of losing a loved one in that fashion never comes to your door.

"The mural has been up over a decade and nothing like this has ever happened before, thankfully we have great guards here and also the area is well covered by CCTV so I'd be optimistic whoever did it will be caught."

Margaret has received a number of offers to redo the mural, which features doves and butterflies and is used to mark a spot where those who feel the need to do so can go to pray and reflect.

"A few people have been on to me and I think a lovely lady called Sharon from Doneraile is going to fix it up for us."

Margaret founded the Charleville Suicide Awareness Project, the group behind having the mural done, and they are now fighting a battle on another front as Cork County Council are trying to have it removed as part of a regeneration of the centre of the town.

She revealed: "They have told us that they want to plant trees and light the area up with solar lights but the trees will cover the plaque we have on the wall and block out the numbers we have put up there for the Samaritans and for Pieta House so we can't accept that.

"The council are doing up the plaza and tell us the area we have does not fit in with their plans, we have had a protest rally already and we'll continue to fight this, it's surely not too much to ask that what we have can be maintained and incorporated into what they want to do.

"It's disappointing on a personal level as I felt I was doing something good with all of this but it seems others don't agree.

"We go there every September to remember our loved ones. It is a place for people to meet and talk to one another about how they feel. It means so much to people and we will not be able to hold our service there next year because of the new planting.

"People love it, so why take it away? We just want them to leave it alone."

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