Statement on the Killing of George Nkencho

Statement on the Killing of George Nkencho

from Rev Dr Tom McKnight, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Rev Dr Sahr Yambasu, President Designate of the Methodist Church in Ireland

 

Along with the Methodist Church in Ireland, we are shocked and saddened by the killing of George Nkencho in the garden of his home in Clonee, West Dublin on December 30th

 

Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family. The loss of a deeply loved member of their family at such a young age is an unbearable pain for anyone to carry. The awful circumstances in which his death happened involves a scale of suffering, few of us could appreciate. As a church, we pray for his family in the pain of their loss.

 

The nature of George’s death is obviously one that has brought incredible shock to those who knew him and to the wider community and country. The various factors that led to him being shot must be thoroughly investigated. With this in mind, the investigation by GSOC must be given its place and nothing should hamper those seeking to examine the details of what happened. It is crucial that all who feel involved is this situation engage at this time with the GSOC investigation.

 

We are extremely concerned about false information circulating on social media relating to George himself and his death. He was a young man without previous criminal convictions from a close family. Such misinformation is not only deeply dishonouring to George and his family, but very dangerous.

 

We wholeheartedly denounce any expression of violence towards members of An Garda Síochána.

 

Very disturbingly, there has been vile material posted and shared in recent days that is disgusting and blatantly racist. We call on all who observe any such hate crime material to report it to An Garda Síochána.

 

Those closest to George and the community around him are understandably distraught at this time. It is a very sensitive situation with emotions running high. We want to give every encouragement to those in the community who are seeking to lead in appropriate and healthy expressions of grief.

 

Some crucial broader issues that we must take seriously

 

Our Council on Social Responsibility has been concerned for a long time about racism and sectarianism in our society. As a church we have been committed to reconciliation in a wide variety of ways in our communities. We recognise the importance of all in our society being valued, enabled to thrive and play their part. Anything that undermines this, that causes members of society to feel that they are not invested in its prosperity and functioning and that undermines confidence in the function of the state is of great concern. We urge all at every level of community involvement to work for understanding, reconciliation and peace.

 

Irish Black people along with people of other ethnicities, including those who have migrated here, have experienced racism at different levels within Irish society. To pretend that racism doesn’t exist, by comparing it to other countries or otherwise, is wrong. We feel that there should be the development within Ireland of some forum that provides a listening space where people who have experienced racism in Ireland can share their stories so that we can all learn. Such a provision has great potential for truth, healing and community cohesion and enables us all as a society to prosper well.