First anniversary of George Nkencho’s murder marked by candlelight vigil



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More than 100 protesters kept vigil outside Blanchardstown Garda station on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the murder of George Nkencho, who was shot dead in a confrontation with Gardaí.

Members of the Nkencho family carried a banner calling for a public inquiry into the murder, while protesters held candles.

Mr Nkencho (27) was shot and killed by an Armed Support Unit member outside his home in Clonee, Dublin 15, on December 30, 2020, during a confrontation with Gardaí. He was armed with a knife and suffered from mental health problems at the time.

An investigation by the Guards Ombudsman (Gsoc) into the shooting is still ongoing, despite previous indications, it would be completed by the first anniversary of his death.

Speaking at the vigil, Gloria Nkencho said she had not been prepared for “a life without” her older brother.

“We haven’t forgotten, and we will never forget, and we will continue to make noise, and we will continue to come out and remind you that George Nkencho’s life mattered,” she told the crowd. .

A candlelight walk to Blanchardstown Garda station to mark the first anniversary of George Nkencho’s murder. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The family had sat together on Christmas Day this year with “one less person,” she said.

“We’ve been living in Blanchardstown for probably 19 years, it’s our home. . . over the last year we have felt like aliens, we have felt isolated, we have felt unimportant, ”she said.

She said the family had received threats following the murder, which sparked racial tensions in the West Dublin community.

The crowd gathered in the rain to remember Mr Nkencho on Thursday evening reminded the family “that we are part of this community,” she said.

“Badly equipped”

Leon Diop, founder of the Black and Irish group, said the murder showed how “ill-equipped” Irish society is to deal with someone during a mental health crisis. It is only by “working together” that the “shortcomings” of the police system could be tackled, he added.

Liam Herrick, executive director of the Irish Civil Liberties Council (ICCL), said any investigation into the murder must examine all the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

Mr Herrick said that while the family and community did not believe “justice has been fully served” as a result of the Gsoc investigation and the inquest into Mr Nkencho’s death, a “fully independent investigation “might be necessary.

Family and friends at a candlelight vigil held in honor of George Nkencho to mark the first anniversary of his death, at Blanchardstown Garda station.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Family and friends at a candlelight vigil held in honor of George Nkencho to mark the first anniversary of his death, at Blanchardstown Garda station. Photograph: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Israel Ibeanu, a friend and former soccer teammate of Mr. Nkencho, said young people in the community were still “hurt and angry”.

In a statement, the Nkencho family said the year since the murder had been “catastrophic.”

“What happened to George should never have happened. Whatever George did, he should be alive today,” the statement read.

The family have called for a public inquiry into the murder, adding that they are “disappointed” that the ongoing Gsoc investigation has not been completed.

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