Over 1,500 Dubliners took part in an anti-racist rally at the weekend in memory of Toyosi Shittabey, the 15-year-old schoolboy stabbed to death in Dublin on Good Friday.
The rally, on Saturday 10 April, came a week after Toyosi was stabbed to death in what is being described as a racially motivated attack. Toyosi was on his way home from football practice when he became involved in an altercation with two brothers, Paul and Michael Barry in Tyrellstown, west Dublin. He died as a result of his injuries.
The rally, led and stewarded by a large number of Toyosi’s friends, made its way through Dublin city centre. Organised by the Toyosi Memorial Committee, it was attended by Toyosi’s mother, Bola, and brothers as well as members of his extended family. Members of the crowd held up banners including ‘Young people unite to fight racism, cuts and unemployment’, ‘Say no to racism’ and ‘Never again’. Groups of children came in football shirts from different clubs as a tribute to Toyosi’s love for football and his great talent as a player. Several speakers addressed the marchers, including representatives of the African community and other local community leaders, trade unionists and politicians.
The successful rally came after some religious leaders had voiced their opposition to the march, fearing that it would lead to ‘social unrest’.
Brothers charged, one with manslaughter
Paul Barry, 38, has been charged with the manslaughter of Toyosi whilst his younger brother Michael, 23, has been charged with an offence under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act for possession of a hockey stick. Both men have been granted bail on strict conditions pending their trial.
The police have stated that the evidence against Paul Barry is substantial. There is no information available as to why he has not been charged with murder. There is also no publicly available information about the two brothers or additional information about the incident which led to Toyosi’s death.
A popular footballer with a bright future
Toyosi, originally from Nigeria, had lived in Ireland since he was four years old with his parents and siblings. He was a student at Hartstown Community School and a member of the under 15s team at Shelbourne FC, a professional football club in the First Division of the League of Ireland. He was reported to be a popular boy with a bright future as a result of which some people have drawn parallels with Stephen Lawrence.
Toyosi’s school, Hartstown Community School, opened during the Easter holidays to provide a place for students and others from the local community to gather and express their grief. Hundreds of people attended his Muslim funeral including the Nigerian Ambassador and the Irish Minister for Integration.
Read a news story: ‘Two men quizzed over ‘racial’ murder’