United in mourning they sang his name together
MORE than a thousand people braved chilling gale-force winds last night to pay their respects to a slain teenager in a candlelight vigil at the scene of his killing.
Members of the African community and Irish alike united in mourning for the promising young Nigerian footballer Toyosi Shittabey, and his grieving family.
Just like they did when the talented youngster took to the football field for Shelbourne FC, the crowd chanted 'Toya' as they marched.
But this time there was no joy in their voices.
Grown men, women, teenagers and children openly wept as they walked through bitter cold in the St Eustace housing estate in Tyrrelstown.
The popular young student had happily lived in the West Dublin suburb until his life was cut short on Good Friday.
The march took the throng from the Tyrrelstown shopping centre to the place where he was killed.
They said silent prayers as they surrounded a lamp post -- adorned with a photograph of the smiling young man and a Shelbourne Football Club scarf -- where he was viciously stabbed to death.
Mourners held each other as a soloist choked back tears herself while delivering an emotional 'Amazing Grace'.
Local parish priest Fr Eugene McCarthy led the crowd in a recitation of the Lord's Prayer while Islamic lecturer Dr Mohammad Umar al-Qadri said Muslim prayers in Arabic calling for peace.
"On behalf of his close friends, we thank you for your support," a friend of the family told the crowd.
Organisers say they are hoping for a similar turnout when they stage a march from the Garden of Remembrance to the Dail on Saturday in protest of Toyosi's killing. Among the supporters was Dubliner Darren MacGearail (27), from Crumlin, Dublin, who attended the vigil with friends Seamus O Mordha (29) and Siomon O Donnabhan (27).
Even though they had never met Toyosi and did not know any of his friends or family, they went along last night to show support for his community and family.
Many housing estates like the one in which Toyosi lived were built in the boom.
They are now home to an increasingly large multicultural community.
One 26-year-old Angolan man, who did not want to be named, said people who hail from across the African continent turned out to support the Shittabey family and to show their revulsion for the killing.
"Our community has to be together," he said.
Asked if he was happy about the large turnout, he said: "You can never be happy when someone is killed like this. It's very disappointing to see something like this happening."
Meanwhile, two brothers will appear in court this morning after being charged on Sunday in connection with the young man's death.
Paul Barry (38), of Pearse Street, Dublin, is due to appear at the Cloverhill District Court this morning after he was charged with manslaughter.
His brother Michael Barry (23), of Pigeonhouse Road, Ringsend, Dublin, is due to seek bail at the same court after he was granted consent to bail following a special sitting of the Dublin District Court on Sunday.
He was charged with possession of a hockey stick as a dangerous weapon but was granted consent to bail under strict conditions, including posting a €6,000 surety of which €4,000 in cash must be lodged at today's appearance.