Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

8:25 pm

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)

The events that led to the death of Shane O'Farrell were a series of failures by the authorities. On 2 August 2011, Shane O'Farrell was killed while cycling home when he was struck by a car driven by a man who was out on bail and should have been in jail. I commend the family of Shane O'Farrell on their fight for justice and truth. I have met them several times and have always admired their determined campaign in Shane's name.

There has been an unacceptable reluctance by the Department of Justice to address these failures and conduct a full and proper inquiry into the events that led to Shane's death. The question we have to ask tonight is why. Why the reluctance? A serial offender with theft and drug offences to his name, the man who killed Shane should not have been out on bail. It was only the failings of the PSNI, the Garda and the State prosecution services that allowed him to be so.

In 2018 and 2019, the Dáil and Seanad, as we have heard, both passed motions calling for a public inquiry into the death of Shane O'Farrell, demonstrating that a majority of the Oireachtas was not satisfied with the investigations surrounding the multiple failures of the criminal justice process to prevent Shane's death. The Minister for Justice of the day ignored the stated will of the Oireachtas by instead putting in place scoping exercises into the public controversy surrounding Shane's death. To make matters worse, he then dismissed the recommendations of the retired judge he had asked to do that.

The report of the scoping exercise was flawed and its findings, rightly, are disputed. Conducted in private, it did not even attempt to explain the severe, catastrophic failings by the justice system that allowed a man who was stopped by gardaí one hour before Shane O'Farrell was killed to go despite being found in a defective car and in breach of bail conditions. This Government has to establish immediately an independent public inquiry into the death of Shane O'Farrell and the actions of State agencies before and after his death in respect of this case.

As regards the scoping exercise, the GSOC report was not even looked at. It was never even asked for by the judge. Why is that? Does the Minister not think that is odd? I just do not agree with her pushing it off to the justice committee. That is just pawning it off to another group that will look at it and come up with the same conclusion, that we need a public inquiry. I just do not understand why the Minister cannot make that decision herself.

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