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Mick Barry TD Oireachtas TV
Leaders' Questions

Dáil suspended after Mick Barry repeatedly raises DPP decision on George Nkencho case

It was reported yesterday that the DPP has decided not to prosecute the Garda who fatally shot George Nkencho in 2020.

DÁIL PROCEEDINGS WERE suspended during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon when People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Mick Barry repeatedly raised the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to prosecute the Garda who fatally shot George Nkencho in 2020. 

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received the file from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) in June last year but has recently directed no prosecution in the case. 

GSOC confirmed to The Journal yesterday that the DPP has notified it of its decision “not to direct a prosecution in the case of the tragic death of Mr George Nkencho, who was shot and killed by a member of the Garda Síochána Armed Support unit outside his family home in West Dublin on 30 December 2020″.

The Nkencho family plan to appeal the DPP’s decision

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Mick Barry began detailing the incident in which Mr Nkencho was shot dead and noted yesterday’s news of the DPP’s decision.

“George’s grieving mother, sisters and brothers, a working class migrant family, will now have to fight a long hard battle for justice, even for basic information like so many others have had to do in the past,” Barry said, before referencing the Stardust fight for justice. 

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Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl interrupted Barry to say issues of the courts should not be commented on in the Dáil.

“We have as a matter of long established principle here the separation of power. Separation of power means that in this House we do not criticise or comment on affairs before the courts,” Ó Fearghaíl said. 

“The Director of Public Prosecutions is independent and their remit and their actions and decisions may not be commented on here in this House in accordance with long established traditions.”

river (1) George Nkencho

Barry began speaking again and said that members of the House “shall not be prevented from raising in the Dáil any matter of general public importance”.

Ó Fearghaíl said he will “not tolerate” commenting on actions or statements or decisions of the courts or DPP. 

“Our hearts go out to the Nkencho family, the sympathies of every member of this House are with them and the memory of their son who should not have lost his life, but we’re not going to talk here about the decision of the DPP, let me be very clear about that,” he said. 

After repeated attempts to discuss the matter, the Ceann Comhairle suspended Dáil proceedings for 10 minutes. 

Once the Dáil resumed, Barry asked Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who was standing in for Taoiseach Simon Harris, if he would agree the GSOC report should be provided to the family and be published.

GSOC conducted the investigation into the shooting and, in June 2023, a file was sent to the DPP – a development which was welcomed by George Nkencho’s family.

The Nkencho family are entitled to see a summary of reasons from the DPP for its decision not to prosecute. They can also, under law, request a review of the decision.

Screenshot 2024-04-25 at 12.11.29 Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue Oireachtas TV Oireachtas TV

Responding to Barry in the Dáil, McConalogue offered his sympathies to the Nkencho family. 

He said he knows that for many people, yesterday’s development “will be upsetting”. 

McConalogue said he understands GSOC will be engaging with the Nkencho family further over the course of coronial proceedings, which can now proceed. 

He noted that he is restricted in what he can say as statutory proceedings are live. 

“But I would like to, just again, acknowledge that today will bring up very, very difficult memories and my thoughts are with all those continuing to grieve George’s loss,” he said. 

A GSOC spokesperson said the incident was the subject of an independent criminal investigation which concluded in June 2023 with the submission of an investigative file to the DPP. 

“GSOC has noted the DPP’s decision, and has notified interested parties in the case, including the Nkencho family and Garda members involved,” the spokesperson added. 

“While GSOC can make no further comment at this time, it will continue to engage with the Nkencho family in the context of coronial proceedings and any other statutory processes that may arise,” the spokesperson continued. 

“GSOC further reiterates its undertaking to make the substantive detail of its investigation publicly available as and when other statutory processes permit it to do so,” they added.

Mr Nkencho’s death

Mr Nkencho was shot dead in the front garden of his house in Clonee, Dublin during a stand-off. He was armed with a kitchen knife and had allegedly assaulted a worker in a shop. He was 27 years old at the time.

During the incident, Mr Nkencho appeared to lunge at gardaí before being shot multiple times by the Garda Armed Support Unit. Gardaí had used pepper spray and tasers against Mr Nkencho in the lead up to the shooting.

Post-mortem results revealed Mr Nkencho died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.

His family claim he was suffering from mental health issues for several months before his death and that the level of force used against him by gardaí was disproportionate. 

Mr Nkencho’s death was followed by protests and an increase in racial tensions in the suburb. 

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Hayley Halpin, Eimer McAuley and Niall O'Connor