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Minister questions Garda Commissioner on racial equality efforts following death of George Nkencho

Roderic O’Gorman met the Garda Commissioner to ask what the force is doing to improve relationships with ethnic minority communities.

A poster held for George Nkencho during a candlelit vigil outside Blanchardstown Garda station
A poster held for George Nkencho during a candlelit vigil outside Blanchardstown Garda station

THE MINISTER FOR Children and Equality questioned the Garda Commissioner today on what the force is doing to improve relationships between gardaí and black and mixed race people in Dublin.

Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Commissioner Drew Harris met today to discuss how An Garda Síochána is engaging with communities in Dublin 15 following the garda shooting of Geoge Nkencho last December.

Harris told the Equality Minister that work is underway to improve diversity and anti-bias training programmes for gardaí and to develop more positive relationships between gardaí and ethnic minority communities.

The minister said that they “discussed a number of issues relating to community policing, including the steps being taken by the Commissioner to ensure that respect for diversity is at the heart of day-to-day policing in all our communities”.

“Following the tragic death of George Nkencho, I asked Commissioner Harris about the specific efforts that are being made to improve relations between gardaí and the black and mixed race communities in the Dublin 15 area in the aftermath of this incident,” O’Gorman said.

“We also discussed the urgency of tackling racism and the work of An Garda Síochána to protect victims of racism and encourage people to report racist incidents to the Gardaí,” O’Gorman said.

Gardaí shot George Nkencho multiple times outside his home on Manorsfields Drive in Clonee, Co Dublin at the end of December.

Since his death, ethnic minority communities and supporters have reiterated calls for greater racial equality in Ireland and in how people are treated by the gardaí.

Outside his funeral in March, friends and neighbours held posters in his memory, with one saying: “Farewell, George – we won’t forget, we’ll stand for justice and truth.”

Garda Commissioner Harris said today that 310 Garda Diversity Officers are responsible for supporting diversity and cultural awareness, and said that they are “working hard to build trust with under-represented and minority communities”.

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“Together with community leaders, NGOs, CSOs and support groups, we encourage anyone affected to report hate crime and feel reassured that they will be treated with the utmost respect and professionalism,” he said.

George Nkencho had been involved in two incidents at the Hartstown Shopping Centre on the day of his death where he was allegedly brandishing a knife and threatening others.

In the days after his death, several false claims were circulated online, including that he was a convicted criminal or that a photograph showed a man who was attacked by him, both of which were untrue.

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