'Use your voice... hold each other accountable' protestors say at Black Lives Matter protest in Cork

'Use your voice... hold each other accountable' protestors say at Black Lives Matter protest in Cork
People attend a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

'No justice, no peace' – that was the roar of hundreds of people on Grand Parade earlier today at a peaceful protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has been brought back into sharp focus following the murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis last month. 

Mr Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes as he pleaded 'I can’t breathe'. Today, young people took to the streets of Cork to have their voices heard, reminding those who are not speaking up about the issue of racism that 'silence is violence'.

Atkah Ingabire and Qaboul Yahya attend a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan
Atkah Ingabire and Qaboul Yahya attend a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

Atkah Ingabire, 19, attended the protest today along with her friend, Qaboul Yahya, 18. 

They are calling on people to be mindful of what they say.

"People don’t actually realise that there is a bit of racism in Ireland, even the small comments that people don’t even realise are offensive," Atkah told The Echo

"Even when you have to fill out a job application and they ask for your ethnicity, there’s no need for that. 

"Or when I go to work people would ask me, ‘where are you from?’, when I say ‘Cork’ they say, ‘no, no, originally’. 

"That’s racism right there and it has to stop," she continued. 

Ilda Geraldo attends a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan
Ilda Geraldo attends a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

Fatima Geraldo, 18, who was at the protest with her twin sister, Ilda, said racism isn’t just an issue across the pond. 

"This topic hits home for us. It’s not just something that happens in America and in Ireland we’re safe. 

"Even though it’s not as brutal as America it’s something that we experience on a daily basis," Fatima said. 

Ilda outlined a racist attack which happened to her friend and called on people to speak out against discrimination. 

"My friend was waiting for the bus by College Road with a few other black people and a group of Irish lads just started throwing rocks at her and saying ‘go back to your own country’ even though they were born here. 

"When they got on the bus, the bus driver could see all of what happened and he didn’t say anything. 

"The lads followed them down the back of the bus and threw objects and rubbish at them. It’s disgusting," she said. 

"Speak up if you see someone being harassed for something they can’t control, like the colour of their skin. 

Fatima Geraldo attends a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan
Fatima Geraldo attends a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

"Use your voice and be a genuine human being."

Niamh Barry, 22 was at the protest with her friend Róisín MacArtain. 

Both are calling for an end to Direct Provision and are urging people to educate themselves and adopt an active anti-racist stance. 

"A lot of us have, without meaning to, been racist in the past and going forward it’s more about trying to be anti-racist rather than just saying ‘Oh, I’m not racist’. 

"Going forward it’s important that we include everyone," Róisín said. 

"It’s important for us to be more intersectional with our entire lives and also realise that not everyone might have the same opportunities as you do," Niamh said. 

A number of young people also made speeches on Grand Parade today. 

Churchill Isibor, 17, said it is vital that systemic racism is put to an end now. 

"The killing of George Flloyd was a tragedy but we have to make sure that his death was not in vain. 

"We have to make sure that the system that allowed this horrible crime to take place is abolished. 

"We have to make sure that things like this don’t happen again because before you know it, they could happen to any one of us," he said. 

"I want every one of you to hold each other accountable for your actions," Churchill continued. 

Solidarity TD Mick Barry said what happened in America has caused a ripple effect worldwide. 

People attend a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan
People attend a protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

"All over the world… people are holding a mirror up to their own society and saying look, there is racism in this society, it is not going to be tolerated and it has to be tacked now," he said. 

"Change has started now and it is not going to stop. 

"I’ve seen this before. 

"I saw it before when the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community stood up and said we’re not going to take this anymore," he said. 

"I saw it when women said we’ve gone to England, we’ve had abortions. 

"We’ve been silent and we’ve lived in shame and we’re not going to do that anymore," Deputy Barry continued. 

"Irish society is going to have to deal with the issue of racism now.

Zoe-Louise Doyle with her rescue grayhound Robert Blackwell out to protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan
Zoe-Louise Doyle with her rescue grayhound Robert Blackwell out to protest at the Grand Parade, Cork in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those in Direct Provision in Ireland. Picture Dan Linehan

"It’s an issue for every single one of us, irrespective of the colour of your skin."

The Cork North Central TD also called for an end to Direct Provision. 

"We will change society and this is a very good start," he said.

More in this section

Sponsored Content