3 June 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Green Party Councillors in Cork City have asked the Lord Mayor to open a book of condolences for the family of George Floyd, a man who was murdered by members of the Minneapolis police department while being detained. Protests held in the wake of the murder have been marred with violence, with many peaceful protests being disrupted by bouts of police brutality in many cities across the United States.
Speaking today, Green Party Councillor Dan Boyle said that it is important that we show solidarity with those suffering in America: “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,” Councillor Boyle continued, “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.” Cllr. Boyle, who is originally from Chicago, added that it is important for people worldwide to support to “make sure those suffering these injustices know they are not alone in the world.”
Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East, Lorna Bogue, added that showing solidarity to people abroad must be accompanied by an examination of injustices faced at home:
“It is crucial to show solidarity with the people facing injustice at the hands of the state in the US, and that show of solidarity comes in the form of protests, yes, but also at examining conditions here in Ireland.
“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 mincéirí, 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 & 22% of the female prison populations respectively.
“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.
“Direct Provision, also is an inhumane system that primarily, if not entirely, affects the rights of people of colour,” Cllr. Bogue continued. “Direct Provision needs to be ended if we are to call Ireland a fair & equal place, and people seeking asylum here must be treated with the same dignity and rights afforded to people who are born here. 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.