Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

Inquiry into the death of Shane O'Farrell: Motion [Private Members]

 

8:05 pm

Photo of Pauline TullyPauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)

I pay tribute to the O'Farrell family for their determination in their quest for truth and justice for Shane. They deserve the truth. They deserve to know how and why Zigimantas Gridziuska was out on bail at the time he killed Shane on 2 August 2011. He had 34 previous convictions across three jurisdictions. He had been on continuous bail since August 2008, even though there were multiple breaches of that bail. Shane's family have established there is a file on Mr. Gridziuska in the Garda National Crime and Security Intelligence Service but they do not what is on the file. They deserve to know what it contains and whether, as many suspect, Mr. Gridziuska was a Garda informant.

The case raises serious questions for the Garda, Department of Justice, Courts Service and Director of Public Prosecutions. It raises serious issues for the criminal justice system around bail, previous convictions, coroner's inquests, the effectiveness of GSOC and transparency around the use of informers by members of the Garda. These questions need to be investigated in an open, transparent and independent manner.

In 2018, the Dáil supported a motion calling for the establishment of a public inquiry. This was followed by the Seanad supporting a similar motion in early 2019. Since then, the Government and consecutive justice Ministers have failed to establish a public inquiry as mandated by those resolutions. They instead initiated a scoping exercise which did not provide for any input from Shane's family into the terms of reference. The family's attempts to have such input was totally disregarded. Not only that, in July 2019, Mr. Justice Haughton received comprehensively amended terms of reference from the Minister that were considerably more restricted than even the Department's original. The outcome of the scoping exercise has left Shane's family very disappointed and, as they point out, has left unanswered many outstanding matters which they brought to the attention of the judge, the Minister for Justice and her Department. It seems to me and many others the purpose of the scoping exercise was not to get to the truth of this matter, but to delay and deter the truth from coming out. This has been about protecting the State and its agencies. Nothing less than a fully independent, open and transparent public inquiry is good enough. I urge support for the motion.

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