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speaking out George Nkencho's sister says she has become a 'witness' to the amount of racism in Ireland

Gloria said that after the “incident” involving her brother “the scales fell from her eyes”.


The sister of George Nkencho, who was shot dead following a tense stand-off with gardaí, has spoken of her experiences in the wake of her brother’s death. 

Gloria and other siblings witnessed the December 30 shooting, as they were at the front door of the family home in Clonee, Dublin.

Gloria has previously spoken about how she no longer felt safe at the house in the wake of George’s death as they endured racist abuse including messages, comments, and threats.

Speaking as part of a panel brought together for the James Connolly Festival 2021 entitled ‘Building Communities, Fighting Racism’ that was posted on YouTube, Gloria said that after the “incident” involving her brother “the scales fell from her eyes”.

“Before the unfortunate incident that occurred, I would say maybe I am privileged in that I haven't been thrown in and seen so much racism,” she said.

“I've never been called the N word or anything like that but maybe that was just me being lucky in that regard.

"But then after this incident it was almost like the scales fell off my eyes.

“I was witness to the amount of racism that actually does exist, that actually does exist within my community and also outside it.

"Where I once called my home in my community where I belonged, now I kind of feel like an outsider, you know, having to leave my home and having to do all these type of things that I would never have had to do before.

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Gloria Nkencho, sister of George Nkencho who was shot dead by gardai, speaks to the media during a press briefing outside Leinster House in February (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gloria Nkencho, sister of George Nkencho who was shot dead by gardai, speaks to the media during a press briefing outside Leinster House in February (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gloria Nkencho, sister of George Nkencho who was shot dead by gardai, speaks to the media during a press briefing outside Leinster House in February (Brian Lawless/PA)

"Being a minority, now it's just more highlighted to me that I'm actually a black girl, I'm not a white Irish girl.

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"I've always identified as an Irish Nigerian girl because, like I said, this is my home but after this incident I just realised that race does play a factor.

"The class that you belong, the area that you live in also plays a huge factor in how people view you and how people interact with you as well.”

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People at a vigil in Dublin for George Nkencho (Niall Carson/PA)

People at a vigil in Dublin for George Nkencho (Niall Carson/PA)

People at a vigil in Dublin for George Nkencho (Niall Carson/PA)

Gloria, a former president of the African Students Association of Ireland who recently completed her studies to become a trainee solicitor, also spoke about the role class plays in oppression and on racism in Ireland.

“I’m not an activist in any way and I’m not an expert in any of these things but I am here due to unfortunate circumstances and my experience before and up to the fact and that’s why I’m here to speak.

“I have seen that there is a huge class issue in Ireland, particularly where I live. I’m from Blanchardstown in the Dublin 15 area.

"I am a black girl from Nigeria but I've lived here most of my life.

"I came here when I was four and we are maybe one of the first generations of black African people to come to Ireland so, of course, we do see a lot of ignorance and a lot of lack of knowledge.

"Growing up and being a teenager and going to secondary school, going into college and university, working, I've seen that there is more of a class issue and where you're based."

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Family and friends don masks at the graveside.  INM’s photographer was given permission to be at the graveside by the family.

Family and friends don masks at the graveside. INM’s photographer was given permission to be at the graveside by the family.

Family and friends don masks at the graveside. INM’s photographer was given permission to be at the graveside by the family.

Speaking about policing in the community, Gloria said: “There should be proper training for people who are going to be integrating and interacting with minorities.

"Especially if they're not from the community, if they're not from Blanchardstown and they don't know the people and they don't know the community that they are policing.

"There should be some training, there should be some sort of experience so that they know how to handle certain situations.”

Referring to the issue of the strength of community, Gloria added: “At the end of the day, when the incident happened with my brother, yes, we had people from my community, the black and Irish people coming up and talking, but we can't do it all alone."

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