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Candle-lit vigil held for George Nkencho in Blanchardstown



A candle-lit vigil has been held for George Nkencho, who was shot dead by gardaí in Dublin.

Up to 200 people, including many of the 27-year-old’s friends and family, took part in the vigil held in Blanchardstown this evening.

Mr Nkencho was shot six times outside his home in Clonee, west Dublin, on Wednesday. December 30th.

He was allegedly brandishing a knife and threatened gardaí before he was shot by members of Blanchardstown Garda Armed Support Unit.

The Garda Ombudsman is carrying out an investigation into Mr Nkencho’s death.

Stephen Ng’ang’a and 11-year-old daughter Stephanie during a candle-lit vigil outside Blanchardstown Garda station (Brian Lawless/PA)

Family, friends and members of the public held candles and sang as they walked in memory of Mr Nkencho.

A number of people held placards, an Irish flag, as well as banners calling for justice for Mr Nkencho.

Those attending were reminded to follow health guidelines and ensure they were socially distanced from other participants.

The crowd walked from Church Road to Blanchardstown garda station where they held a candle-lit vigil.

There was a small garda presence in the area.

Standing outside the garda station, they repeatedly called out his name and called for justice.

“A generation is gone just like that, and we are out here in the cold in this harsh time to fight for justice,” one speaker said.

“Justice for George Nkencho. This boy has a name.

“We are all here because of George Nkencho and justice must prevail whether they like it or not.”


Another speaker praised those who participated, particularly during the pandemic.

“We know that life is meaningless unless we are prepared to fight against the injustices we face every day,” the speaker added.

“That is why people are here. We would rather put up with the challenges we have to confront today in order to ensure our future is taken care.

“We want to thank every one of you.”

Former Solidarity TD and activist Ruth Coppinger was among those who spoke at the vigil.

She hit out at those that have been stoking division in the community following Mr Nkencho’s death, describing them as “utterly reprehensible”.

“The far right and racists are trying to use this tragedy to divide this community,” she added.

“They have nothing to offer society as we saw during Covid, and now here they are trying to use this tragedy. We will not let that happen.

“It is of the utmost seriousness that a young person is shot on their doorstep not once, but six times, very shortly after being apprehended.

People during a march in Blanchardstown, Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“There is huge questions here that the gardaí and the State in Ireland has to answer.

“We must have a public investigation, we must have a transparent and thorough investigation.

“Racism is not something that we will accept, we will not accept young people who go to school together being divided in this way.

“Unfortunately when people don’t experience discrimination, they don’t understand it.

“People have said this could happen to a white person and they are right, it could happen to a traveller or a working-class estate.

“But it won’t happen to a rich man who is white and from Castleknock or Dalkey.”

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Ireland faces ‘indefinite lockdown’ without further vaccine supplies, TD claims



A Government TD has said Ireland faces an “indefinite lockdown” unless the State can secure more doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

Marc MacSharry has urged his Government colleagues to break with the European Union’s purchase system and to try obtain more doses directly from the companies involved.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the Government intends to offer all citizens in Ireland a vaccine by September.

However, his Fianna Fáil party colleague Mr MacSharry does not believe the goal can be achieved with current number of doses expected.

“I want us to do the old-fashioned — lift the phone, secure supplies, and if they want €70 a dose, give it to them,” Mr MacSharry said.

“Otherwise, you’re looking forward to a fourth wave, an indefinite lockdown, and that is no good to any of us.”

The Republic has now administered 121,900 jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine, equating to 2.5 per cent of the population.

European Union leaders are meeting by video conference on Thursday to discuss a target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the bloc’s population by the summer.


The HSE’s chief Paul Reid told a weekly briefing that the country’s vaccination programme provided a roadmap for getting out of the pandemic.

However, he criticised some hospitals who have administered leftover vaccines to people other than their employees.


Ireland ‘nowhere near’ easing Level 5 but schools…

“There has been much reporting this week of a smaller number of incidents and cases where some people have been vaccinated in a manner or certainly in a sequence that didn’t comply with the agreed sequencing,” Mr Reid said.

“I want to be very clear — this shouldn’t have happened, and nobody could have been confused or needed further clarity in terms of the agreed sequencing for the vaccines.”

Meanwhile, the Tánaiste has said that Ireland is “nowhere near where we need to be at present” to consider easing Level 5 restrictions.

Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that the numbers surrounding Covid-19 were too high to consider lifting restrictions in the short-term, but that did not mean schools could not reopen in February.

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2,608 cases, 51 additional deaths



The Department of Health has been notified of 2,608 new cases of Covid-19 and 51 additional deaths.

Of today’s cases, 1,230 were men, 1,346 were women and 55 per cent were under the age of 45.

Dublin recorded 1,019 cases, while there were 204 in Cork, 135 in Donegal, 132 in Galway and 131 in Kildare. The remaining 987 cases were spread across all other counties.

Ireland’s national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 is now 1,141, with 54,318 cases recorded in the past two weeks.

According to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), there are now 1,943 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, 214 of whom are in Intensive Care Units. In the past 24 hours, 105 people have been admitted to hospital with the virus.

Speaking at this evening’s Nphet briefing, Professor Philip Nolan said the positivity rate of tests has now fallen to 11.7 per cent, with the community positivity rate now at approximately 13 per cent.

He estimated the reproductive, or R number is now in the region of 0.5 to 0.8, showing the transmission of the virus is now declining.

Prof Nolan added that while he was happy to report a fall in the incidence of the virus, reducing by approximaty 7 to 8 per cent each day, he warned there continues to be “exceptional high levels [of Covid-19] in the community”.

In the North today, 732 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded, with 21 additional deaths.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Ireland is “nowhere near” easing Level 5 restrictions, but added schools may be able to reopen in February.

Mr Varadkar’s comments came after the publication of Dr Holohan’s letter to the Minister for Health, dated January 14th, in which he warned Ireland could see up to 1,000 Covid-related deaths this month.

“We are seeing rapidly increasing incidence in long-term care settings and vulnerable groups.


HSE chief: 43% of Covid-19 hospital admissions in…

“The marked impact of widespread transmission is being observed in both the number and scale of new outbreaks occurring in health and social care settings, including in acute hospitals and long-term residential care facilities,” the letter read.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid echoed Dr Holohan’s unease, saying the Covid-19 situation in Irish hospitals is at the “highest level of concern” since the pandemic began.

Speaking at the HSE’s weekly briefing, Mr Reid said all healthcare systems still remain on “extremely high alert”, with 43 per cent of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 being under the age 65.

The Government has also updated the Covid-10 Data Hub to show 121,900 people in the Republic have now received their first dose of the vaccine.

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