Latest revelations fuel demand for independent inquiry into death of Shane O’Farrell – Matt Carthy TD
Sinn Féin TD for Cavan Monaghan, Matt Carthy, has said that the weekend revelations that a Department of Justice briefing on the case of Shane O’Farrell to Fianna Fáil, provided during the period of the confidence and supply government, simply fuels the demand that an independent inquiry into the case must be established.
Shane O’Farrell, a young 23 year old Carrickmacross man, was killed in a hit and run on 2nd August 2011, by Zigimantas Gridziuska, a known criminal who had breached his bail conditions at the time and had 42 previous convictions in three different jurisdictions.
It emerged last weekend that the Department of Justice briefing omitted ‘significant information’. The briefing, during negotiations in late 2018, withheld details regarding a 2017 Courts Service notification to the department of a ‘filing error’ which resulted in Gridziuska not been imprisoned on the foot a charges relating to heroin possession.
Deputy Carthy said this week:
“If details on the background to the investigation of Shane O’Farrell’s death can be withheld from a party that is keeping the government in power, how can his family or the public be confident that the Department of Justice is committed to the full facts of the case emerging?
“It has been over ten years since Shane O’Farrell lost his life. His family have been fighting for justice ever since in the face of a department seemingly committed to obfuscate the process.
“Almost three years ago, a Dáil resolution was passed calling for a full independent inquiry into the issues that the O’Farrell family have raised, but have been met with delayed reviews, reviews of reviews all of which have simply serve to delay justice further.
“A lengthy GSOC inquiry was followed more recently by the announcement of a scoping inquiry in February 2019. That report has yet to be delivered to government some 31 months later.
“The man responsible for the death of Shane O’Farrell should never have been in prison at the time. The person responsible had 42 previous convictions and was on bail related to other convictions at the time this ‘filing error’ set him free.
“His family have neither had peace nor the opportunity to grieve for their son because they have had to doggedly pursue the state every step of the way.
“It should not be the responsibility of families to ensure that the state adequately investigates circumstances such as these, but that is what the O’Farrell family have had to do as a result of state failings.
“There should be no more delays. It is long past time for Minister Humphreys to begin preparing for a full and independent inquiry in line with the will of the Dáil as expressed by majority resolution in 2018.
“The circumstances of Shane’s death and the subsequent investigation and trial are littered with failings by state agencies and the absence of basic compassion.
“The O’Farrell family have raised several serious concerns regarding the handling of this case by an Garda Síochána, by the prosecuting solicitor and barrister, by the DPP and by the courts services.
“These matters of concern can be only addressed through a full independent public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell, the actions of all relevant state bodies in response to his death and their respective roles in advance of and following his killing.
“After ten, and ongoing revelations – there should be no further delays”.