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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 10 August, 2020

Dublin Lord Mayor asks people to sign book of condolence for George Floyd rather than protest tomorrow

So far, 1,900 people have signed the book of condolence for Geroge Floyd whose murder has sparked protests around the world.

A protester at the Black Lives Matter rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Monday.
A protester at the Black Lives Matter rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Monday.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

DUBLIN LORD MAYOR Tom Brabazon has asked people to sign an online book of condolence for George Floyd rather than take part in the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests tomorrow. 

Brabazon said that signing the book was the safest way for people to “show their solidarity for their fellow man” given the ongoing pandemic.  

Some 1,900 people signed the book of condolence, which is available here, in just over 24 hours since it opened on Wednesday evening. 

Brabazon said it is for people to express their sympathies to the family of George Floyd, and “to state our support for those who are fighting against racial injustice worldwide”.

He told that he can understand why people want to get out and march but “we have to remember we are going through a pandemic”. 

“I would ask people to sign the book of condolences, show their solidarity for their fellow man by signing the book condolences, and we will pass that on to the American Embassy on 17 of June. 

“That’s the safest way, it’s the risk-free way, without putting people in danger, or putting our hospitals, and our frontline staff under extra pressure that they don’t need,” Brabazon said. 

“I understand people’s anger and I understand their frustration but we are in the midst of a pandemic and the chief medical officer advises people not going out there. I’m certainly not going to be contradicting the chief medical officer’s advice.”

A series of nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations are being organised for tomorrow by Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), Migrants and Ethnic minorities for Reproductive Justice and Black Pride Ireland as a show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests in the US and to call for an end to Direct Provision. 

The demonstrations will be the latest in a series of protests that have taken place around the world as people decry years of deaths of black people at police hands, most recently George Floyd. 

Thousands took the streets of Dublin to protest on Monday, prompting criticism from health officials and a probe by gardaí who are investigating a potential breach of Covid-19 regulations relating to the protest. 

Speaking to yesterday, one the organisers of the protests this weekend said that Ireland needs to react to racism while there is a global focus on the issue.     

“This is an opportunity now because it’s happening now. Not next week, not next month; it’s happening now. We can’t just pause our emotions,” Lucky Kambole of MASI said.  

The Lord Mayor said that while conveying sympathy to Floyd’s family is an integral part of the book, there’s a wider anti-racist movement involved in the action being taken given it is being handed to the US Ambassador to Ireland. 

Brabazon, who is a Fianna Fáil councillor, added that he has been writing to mayors around Europe to organise a “wider communication” to the US.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke at length in the Dáil yesterday about racism at home and abroad in the wake of the killing of Floyd.

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Varadkar said we don’t need to look across the Atlantic to find racism, “we have many examples in our own country”.

He said a strong sense of community had helped the country during the Covid-19 crisis, and this would be needed to help take on racism and change the experiences of young people of colour in Ireland for the better. 

On the issue of Direct Provision, Varadkar said he accepts that some accommodation is “substandard” but it was “ultimately a service provided by the State”. 

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