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08.24 9 Jan 2018


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Hundreds of people gathered in Dundalk last night for a candle-lit vigil to remember a Japanese man stabbed to death last week.

24-year-old Yosuke Sasaki was killed in an attack on Wednesday, with two other people also injured at separate locations in the town.

Gardaí are still trying to establish a motive after an 18-year-old man was charged with murder.

Mr Sasaki had arrived in Ireland as a language student, and more recently had been working at the National Pen company in Dundalk.

In a statement released through the Japanese Embassy to coincide with last night's vigil, the Sasaki family said: "We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the kindness the people of Ireland have shown. When he was alive, our son spoke about the warmth of the people of this town and his love of Dundalk.

"He 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."

It adds: "As a family, we are truly saddened by what has happened, but we hope that this incident will not give Japanese people a bad impression of Ireland."

 

Speaking at the vigil, Fine Gael councillor and chairperson of the Dundalk Municipal District John McGahon said the community there will stand with the community in Japan.

He told the crowd: "Yosuke decided to come to join, to live, to work and to enjoy everything this great town has to offer. That's what makes this tragedy all the more heartbreaking - that a guest in our town met such a terrible end upon our streets last week.

"This vigil is a way to show strength, it's a way to show unity, and it's a way to show solidarity with his friends, his family and his community in Japan."

He added: "We hope that the gathering in this Irish town is a source of comfort and a source of light to Yosuke's family, and the community who are grieving in their own town in Japan."

Reverend Jeffrey Wansley, meanwhile, the community was united in "shock, hurt and grief" in Yosuke's death.


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