US-born Cork councillor calls on City Hall to open book of condolence for George Floyd

US-born Cork councillor calls on City Hall to open book of condolence for George Floyd
People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. PA Photo. Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A Cork City Councillor, who was born in Chicago, has called for a book of condolences to be opened in Cork for the family of George Floyd.

Mr Floyd was murdered by members of the Minneapolis police department while being detained last week - an incident that has sparked mass protests across America and the world.

Green Party Councillor Dan Boyle, who was born in the United States, said: “What happened in the case of George Floyd, and in the case of too many before and since then, is abhorrent. For eight minutes and forty-eight seconds Derek Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd’s neck, while Floyd told him that he couldn’t breathe.

“Too many times something like this has happened, even just in recent memory, and if we don’t stand against injustice like this, if you’re silent now – whether you’re in Cork or Kansas – then you’re standing with the injustice.” Mr Boyle added that those suffering these injustices need to know “they are not alone in the world.” 

Green Party Councillor Lorna Bogue, added that showing solidarity to people abroad must be accompanied by an examination of injustices faced at home.

Green Party councillors Dan Boyle and Lorna Bogue.Picture: David Keane.
Green Party councillors Dan Boyle and Lorna Bogue.Picture: David Keane.

“Like in the States, people from ethnic minority groups make up a significantly higher percentage of the prison population than their percentage make-up of the general public. People of colour and members of the Travelling Community, in particular, are unfairly treated. Travellers account for less than one percent of the population, but make up around 15% of the male and 22% of the female prison populations respectively,” Councillor Bogue said.

“We need to examine why that is, because it’s certainly not because one group is intrinsically more criminal than the other. It’s because of how resources and funding are distributed, how communities are supported. And right now we are failing at this,” she added.

Ms Bogue went on to call for an end to the Direct Provision system and said that those seeking asylum must be given the same rights and treated with the same dignity that people who were born in Ireland are afforded.

“That is how we show solidarity with those being oppressed in the States, that’s how we show that we believe that Black Lives Matter, by eliminating racial injustice,” she concluded.

A Black Lives Matter protest due to take place in Cork tomorrow has been cancelled. The protest was due to start at 2pm on Friday at Kent Station. It comes as another protest in Dublin planned for Monday has also been cancelled, with organisers voicing concerns that people could be prosecuted by Gardaí. An estimated 5,000 people took to the streets of Dublin on Monday, June 1 for a mass Black Lives Matter protest, contravening current public health regulations and guidelines. 

“An Garda Síochána is investigating this matter and the advices of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be sought in respect of any further actions to be taken,” Gardaí said in relation to this protest.

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