candlelit vigil | 

Vigil for George Nkencho told how his family are being harassed by the 'far right'

'Standing here today with all the same people and nothing changed since this time last year is heartbreaking, unreal, scary and concerning'

Gloria and Grateful Nkencho at the vigil for their late brother George Nkencho at Blanchardstown Garda Station. Picture: Collins

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A candlelit vigil that was held for George Nkencho outside Blanchardstown garda station last night was told how the family was still waiting for justice one year after his killing.

A number of speakers addressed the gathering that was staged to mark the day, one year on, that the 27-year-old died after a confrontation with armed gardaí outside his west Dublin home.

Mr Nkencho, who was armed with a knife, had been involved in an earlier incident at a shop in Hartstown before being followed by gardaí to nearby Clonee where he was shot in his front garden after his family had pleaded he be left alone.

Gardaí said they felt threatened when he refused to put down the knife and that attempts at non-lethal methods of disarming him failed.

The Nkencho family have said he was suffering from mental illness. The case is currently under investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).

George Nkencho died after being shot by gardai in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Last night, supporters of the family walked from Blanchardstown village to the local Garda station where speeches were heard by TD Brid Smith, former TD Ruth Coppinger and friends of the family.

In a video posted on the Justice for George Nkencho Facebook page, Ms Smith said: “It happened a whole year ago, it's hard to believe, on this night.

“There's been a huge amount of pain and suffering, harassment and injustice done to his family who have had to stay behind to try and ensure that his name doesn't go down in history as the one that the far right tried to paint.”

She said she had posted a message on social media on the night of George’s death expressing empathy and sympathy that was met with a “huge pile on from the far right”.

“There were thousands of nasty, nasty comments, some horrendous lies, really hurtful lies that were told about that young man after he was killed,” she said.

“They tried to shake the bushes to flesh out any local racism in this city or beyond so that they can mold it and use it for their interests.

“I'm sure they've had a degree of success, but what they haven't been successful in, is trying to paint George Nkencho as a violent criminal, a murderer, a dangerous man.

“That is not the case and we have to ensure that that never goes down on the formal record because George was, and they don't like to hear this, one of us.

“I mean there's only one race and it's the human race and despite what they said, George was not one of them, he's one of us, and will remain one of us as well as all his brothers and sisters and his parents. I think that's an important thing to say.”

Another speaker said: “It has been 365 days since George was shot five times and killed by the gardai in front of his home.

She said that standing here today “with all the same people and nothing changed since this time last year was “heartbreaking, unreal, scary and concerning”.

“I just want to say shame on you who are in the position of power and do nothing. Shame on you who continue to sleep peacefully while the George Nkencho family and the community continues to grieve and scream for his justice.”

The first anniversary of the death of George Nkencho in Dublin was marked with a candle lit walk (Ruth Coppinger/PA)

She added: “To all who are feeling hopeless, thinking a year has gone by and we didn't do anything, that we forgot or what we're doing here is pointless, I just want to pass the message on that it's not the case that we forgot.

“We were just waiting. We didn't get tired, we were just patient.

"We’ve given the State 365 days to actively respond to the murder of George and there’s nothing yet.

“Now I call on all those who are in a high position of power to use their voice to acknowledge this injustice and to push for an independent public inquiry.

“We will continue to remember George, demand his justice and say never again.”

Speaking as the first anniversary approached, Mr Nkencho’s sister, Gloria, said she cannot believe a year has passed since his death.

“We are doing the best we can, but at this time of the year it is not easy. We have our first Christmas without George, so there isn’t the same joy in the house,” she said.

George Nkencho's parents Frank and Blessing. Picture by Gerry Mooney

A spokesman for Gsoc said it had hoped to complete its investigation before the anniversary, but that it will not be possible.

“Gsoc met with members of the Nkencho family and its representatives on December 1 to update them on the progress of its investigation into the death of George Nkencho in December 2020,” the spokesman said.

“It was able to confirm to the family that significant progress has been made in the investigation, which has been the fruit of extensive inquiries.

“It also indicated, however, that further work is required to ensure it concludes its examination of all lines of inquiry arising from its investigation to date.”

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