- 19 Apr 22
George Nkenchos family have repeatedly raised concerns about the progress of a Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation into his death, calling on the Justice Minister to support an independent inquiry.
The family of George Nkencho, who was shot dead by Gardaí, have called for an independent public investigation into his death once more.
The 27-year-old was shot multiple times outside his home in Clonee, West Dublin, on December 30th, 2020. He had resided in the area for 16 years, attending Blakestown Community School and playing football for Insaka-Glentoran and St Mochtas FC.
Nkencho suffered a mental health crisis at the Eurospar in Hartstown, where there was an altercation with staff. It was alleged by Gardaí that he was brandishing a knife and threatened gardaí before he was shot, immediately outside the hall door of his family home, by members of Blanchardstown Garda Armed Support Unit.
Gardaí later had to issue a statement refuting racist lies perpetuated online about George, warning people about the disinformation on social media.
George's sister Gloria has now raised fresh concerns about the progress of a Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation into his death, and has called on the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, to support an independent inquiry. GSOC has failed to make a report on the killing over 16 months on, having not even interviewed the family as witnesses for 28 days.
“This is an unimaginable pain that I do not wish upon anyone," Gloria said last year. "The death of my brother has caused a vacuum in my home. My mother has described it as a wound that can never heal. My family are forced to relive our trauma every day when we walk past his room, when we walk down the stairs and see where we stood as he was shot and killed. We see the bullet holes on the door by our window. This shouldn’t have happened, he didn’t deserve to die. He needed help, not bullets.
“He is not here to speak for himself so we must. We need a full, public, independent investigation into his death. We need truth and justice. My brother is gone and will not be coming back. What we can do is ensure that his death is not in vain, that it never happens to another family again and the most vulnerable people in our society are given the care that they need."
Firearms are only meant to be discharged if there is an imminent and serious threat, it should be noted. There have been previous, similar public order incidents involving Gardaí and members of the public, where those being followed by Gardaí were arrested without any resort to the use of guns.
To set out their reasons for demanding an independent public inquiry, local YARI activists in Dublin 15 have created an information leaflet on the issue.
"The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)," it explains, "is meant to properly and fully investigate any killing involving Gardaí. But grave questions hang over their investigation into George Nkencho's killing and over GSOC itself. GSOC failed to get evidence, footage and witness testimony in a timely and efficient manner. Bullet casings weren’t fully accounted and vital video footage not authenticated for months. It was 11 weeks before GSOC took formal statements from the armed Gardaí present on the day. None of the Gardaí who fired shots that day have been suspended from duty pending the investigation. GSOC assured the family that their investigation would be concluded before the first anniversary of George's killing. Now 16 months have passed and nothing.
"Last year the Commission on the Future of Policing recommended that completely independent investigations into actions of Gardaí are necessary. GSOC and Gardaí have no credibility to produce a thorough account. Any inquiry must be independent and must be open and transparent for all to see, particularly George’s family and the community of Dublin 15."
Politicians including Solidarity TD Mick Barry, former Dublin West TD Ruth Coppinger and Blanchardstown councillor John Burtchaell previously wrote to Justice Minister Helen McEntee calling for an independent inquiry.
In a statement, GSOC said the question of whether a “public investigation or a commission of inquiry” is to be held is one for the government.
GSOC says that it is an independent body, separate to An Garda Síochána, and is “carrying out an independent investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding the death of George Nkencho”.
It adds that it will satisfy all its legal obligations including that “a death following police contact be independently investigated.”
TA ctivists have called on members of the public to demand an independent enquiry, by emailing Minister for Justice & Equality Helen McEntee:
Local TDs for Dublin West are as follows:
- Live Review
- 23 Sep 22
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 21 Sep 22