Cate McCurry, PA
A candle-lit vigil has been held for George Nkencho, who was shot dead by gardaí in Dublin.
Up to 200 people, including many of the 27-year-old’s friends and family, took part in the vigil held in Blanchardstown this evening.
Mr Nkencho was shot six times outside his home in Clonee, west Dublin, on Wednesday. December 30th.
He was allegedly brandishing a knife and threatened gardaí before he was shot by members of Blanchardstown Garda Armed Support Unit.
The Garda Ombudsman is carrying out an investigation into Mr Nkencho’s death.
Family, friends and members of the public held candles and sang as they walked in memory of Mr Nkencho.
A number of people held placards, an Irish flag, as well as banners calling for justice for Mr Nkencho.
Those attending were reminded to follow health guidelines and ensure they were socially distanced from other participants.
The crowd walked from Church Road to Blanchardstown garda station where they held a candle-lit vigil.
There was a small garda presence in the area.
Standing outside the garda station, they repeatedly called out his name and called for justice.
“A generation is gone just like that, and we are out here in the cold in this harsh time to fight for justice,” one speaker said.
“Justice for George Nkencho. This boy has a name.
“We are all here because of George Nkencho and justice must prevail whether they like it or not.”
Another speaker praised those who participated, particularly during the pandemic.
“We know that life is meaningless unless we are prepared to fight against the injustices we face every day,” the speaker added.
“That is why people are here. We would rather put up with the challenges we have to confront today in order to ensure our future is taken care.
“We want to thank every one of you.”
Former Solidarity TD and activist Ruth Coppinger was among those who spoke at the vigil.
She hit out at those that have been stoking division in the community following Mr Nkencho’s death, describing them as “utterly reprehensible”.
“The far right and racists are trying to use this tragedy to divide this community,” she added.
“They have nothing to offer society as we saw during Covid, and now here they are trying to use this tragedy. We will not let that happen.
“It is of the utmost seriousness that a young person is shot on their doorstep not once, but six times, very shortly after being apprehended.
“There is huge questions here that the gardaí and the State in Ireland has to answer.
“We must have a public investigation, we must have a transparent and thorough investigation.
“Racism is not something that we will accept, we will not accept young people who go to school together being divided in this way.
“Unfortunately when people don’t experience discrimination, they don’t understand it.
“People have said this could happen to a white person and they are right, it could happen to a traveller or a working-class estate.
“But it won’t happen to a rich man who is white and from Castleknock or Dalkey.”