'Our son spoke about the warmth of the people of this town and his love of Dundalk' - Yosuke Sasaki remembered in candlelit vigil
Over 1,000 people took part in a candlelight vigil in Dundalk tonight for Yosuke Sasaki (24) who was killed last week as he walked home from work.
Among those in attendance was Her Excellency Mrs Mari Miyoshi, the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland.
In a statement the Sasaki family said “we are truly saddened by what has happened, but we hope that this incident will not give Japanese people a bad impression of Ireland.”
They said their son came to Ireland “initially as a language student and only intended a short stay. However, he was touched by the kindness of the Irish people and he decided to work here.”
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the kindness the people of Ireland have shown.”
The statement was read by Cllr John McGahon, chair of the Dundalk Municipal District which supported and organised the vigil on a cross party basis.
The family said that, “When he was alive our son spoke about the warmth of the people of this town and his love of Dundalk.”
The family, who are in contact with a garda liason officer, said “we hope that a tragic event like this one will never happen in this country again.”
Cllr McGahon said “the vigil is to show our unity with Yosuke, his family, his friend and the people of Japan. Dundalk has a vibrant and thriving multicultural community that we are proud of.”
Words were said by Fr Mark O’Hagan the administrator of St Patrick’s Parish, by Iman Nooh, Dundalk Islamic Community and by Rev Captain Geoffrey Walmsley, Church of Ireland.
Fr O’Hagan said, “as we stand here this evening shoulder to shoulder, of many faiths and no faith, we gather as a community, as a family devastated, shocked at the terrible incident that happened here in our town last week.
Iman Nooh said, “On behalf of Dundalk Muslim Community I am here sending our condolences to the people of Japan and most especially the family of Yosuke, his workmates.”
Rev Walmsley said people gathered were of “all different classes, colours, creeds of people in human commonality together, we gather as a community sharing in our shock, our hurt and our grief in Yosuke’s passing.”
Many of his work colleagues from National Pen were at the vigil.
One man said, “it is important that the people of Dundalk show their solidarity. It is one in a trillion what happened, a guy came over to work with us, his colleagues still work with us and it is nice we can show our respects.”
A fund toward the repatriation costs of Mr Sasaki was due to close at midnight last night but will instead remain open until this (Tuesday) afternoon according to Mr Oliver Morgan.
He set up the GoFundMe page last week and by the time the vigil began, it had raised nearly €18,000 excluding a €5,000 donation from a local company.