Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

9:15 pm

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)

I warmly welcome the family of the late Shane O'Farrell. I am glad they are here but I am very sorry that they are here. They should not have to be here tonight. They should not have had to be here today in the AV room, where they gave an excellent presentation. I was sorry I had to leave but I read the documents I received. It reminded me of years ago when we were here; it is like we are back where we started in that we have not progressed. All they have is unfulfilled promises.

I warmly thank Sinn Féin for tabling this motion before the Dáil this evening. I rightly recognise its work. Deputy Mattie McGrath has not a couple of sheets of paper but literally a file on the late Shane O'Farrell because of the work he has done over the time. This case highlights the urgent need for reform in the Irish justice system. It reveals shocking malpractice and dysfunction at all levels. The case demonstrates the need for stricter enforcement of bail laws, better monitoring of individuals on bail and for courts to be informed of relevant previous convictions and reoffending. It is hurtful. Every one of us has only one life. When we bring children into the world, the one aim every parent has in their hearts and souls is to go into the ground before their children. No matter what cost, that is what every parent would want. That is what the O'Farrell family would have hoped they would have achieved. When I heard them speaking today, knowing the effort they put in throughout all those years, they would give anything to have that time back.

If justice had been served and been seen to be served, we would not be having this debate tonight. Sinn Féin would not have to do what it has done and the Minister would not have to be here. Most important, the O'Farrell family would not have to be in the Public Gallery. Their son would be alive if the justice system had worked properly. When it did not work properly, surely they should have got the justice they deserved. Justice delayed is justice denied, but what about when you do not get it at all? It is a horrible feeling. I can only imagine what it is like in the dawn of the morning when they wake up and think first of their loss and second of what has happened politically since.

Deputy McGrath showed me letters signed by politicians giving the family promises. I hope they do not mind; he allowed me to look at them. They were addressed to Lucia. She received them in good faith. They were not just political promises; they were written down by individuals but were not honoured. That is an awful thing to do. I thank the Cathaoirleach Gníomhach for his indulgence.

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