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Fury as 'boy racers' return in wake of Conall McCavitt hit-and-run in Crossmaglen

By Brett Campbell

The sight of cars "rallying" around Crossmaglen just days after a hit-and-run collision left a young GAA star critically injured has sparked outrage.

Conall McCavitt's condition remains critical following the horror of last Tuesday morning, that has left the south Armagh community in shock.

A 20-year-old man arrested on suspicion of motoring offences has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Slieve Gullion councillor Pete Byrne said the whole community was hoping that the "quiet and harmless big chap" who is "very well liked" pulls through.

But he also said there was anger in the village after cars were seen screeching around Cardinal O'Fiaich Square on New Year's Night.

"Even on Sunday night, just days after this terrible accident, there were cars rallying around," he said.

"It went on for an hour-and-a half. The drivers come from outside the town, no one recognises who they are. It's a major problem, which has been going on for years."

The SDLP man said he was in the Square 15 years ago when a child was hit by car that had been rallying around all morning. The vehicle did not stop.

"She was only about eight years old and was out on her bike when it happened. She was airlifted to hospital and is very lucky to be alive," he said.

Mr Byrne added the issue had been raised with the police on numerous occasions and called for a visible PSNI presence in the evenings.

He also suggested the installation of a camera in the Square.

"The people doing it realise it takes the police an hour to get here. Any measure that stops this should be welcomed. If there was a camera, then at least people could be prosecuted. It's only a matter of time before someone gets killed," he said.

Fr Kevin Cullen said large numbers of young people had been attending nightly vigils at St Patrick's Church to pray for Mr McCavitt.

"It has put the parish into deep shock. Everyone is very stunned and upset by it all. We are living in hope that he will pull out of it," he said.

"The chapel has been full, with big crowds of young people too.

"Our backs are to the wall but this is a great community and it's just a very sincere effort to do something in very difficult situation."

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