A former criminal and the brother of notorious Dublin gangland boss Martin ‘The General’ Cahill has urged young criminals to reflect on the fact that by entering criminality they are often merely going down a road designed for them.
In an honest, deeply personal and wide ranging interview Eddie Cahill – who is now a highly regarded artist – gave a rare insight into how the journey into criminality can often seem pre-ordained.
Growing up in Crumlin as one of 13 children Eddie told The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 how he and his brother were “damaged” by a period spent in the industrial home at Letterfrack and, on release, inevitably drifted into crime.
COMING UP: Ryan will be talking to Eddie Cahill, brother of the art heist criminal ‘The General’, about leaving a life of crime behind to become an artist @RTERadio1 Photo: Alison O’Reilly pic.twitter.com/mpDtRqLOhL
— Ryan Tubridy Show (@RyanTubridyShow) December 6, 2018
“The only other alternative was to go on the Dole and sit at home and be called a scrounger for the rest of your life … and we were never going to do that”.
“It was a matter of them and us … this was a life designed for us. They needed prisoners … and unemployed people and it is not a merit thing … you are never judged on your merits.
“You are judged on where you are from and do you fit. We didn’t fit in anywhere.”
Mr Cahill went on to say it took him some time to realise he was travelling a road that masked the fact he was “broken.”
“You go through life doing all these things thinking you are John Waye or Jesse James… but at same time you come to realise are just a broken person.
“But the minute you commit a crime they won … we were broken without realising we were broken. It took me an extra 21 years to … learn that.
The brother of ‘The General’ went on to say that while a bullet ultimately ended his brother’s life at 45-years-of-age it was knowledge that ultimately saved him.
“Knowledge saved me … I kind of always knew that I was wrong … I knew this life was not for us and we are not designed for it.”
Mr Cahill went on to say that he believed that painting gave him an escape from a life of crime and inevitably saved him form prison or death.
The former criminal turned artist revealed that he was able to learn his craft while in Portlaoise prison.
He is now selling his paintings for up to €10,000 and laughingly revealed that Justice Haughten opened his recent exhibition.
“All my friends are now high court judges,” he said.
Reflecting on those who have been hurt by what he and his brother Martin did he said of course he would have regrets but felt apologies were often just insulting.
“If they want an apology and came to me look it .. but how would you find them.”
“I would have regrets of course but would I apologise? No I don’t think so”.
Eddie Cahill’s paintings are on show at the Origin Gallery.
Listen to the full interview here