Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

9:25 pm

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)

I again express my condolences and support to the O'Farrell family in their fight for the State to recognise and properly address the significance of the case. It is extremely cruel that the O'Farrell family has been forced to continue this fight to get the answers they need. I cannot imagine the scale of grief they have suffered over the past 13 years. It is unacceptable that they have been forced through this and that, despite the matter being raised many times in this House, we have yet to receive the answers they are so desperately looking for. All they are asking for is answers, yet it seems they are posing questions that are too big, questions the State is not able or willing to answer.

The report of the scoping exercise into the death of Shane O'Farrell was published a year ago but many serious issues remain unaddressed. Although lengthy, it is clear the report is incomplete. The report is incredibly disappointing for those who waited so long to see it published. It is clear there are some very big unexplained holes in it. Throughout the report, State bodies are continuously excused from any accountability, and the scoping exercise failed to uncover thorough or factual answers to vital questions relating to Shane's death. The crux of the situation is that if the criminal justice system had worked as it should, Mr. Gridziuska would have been in custody on the day he killed Shane O'Farrell. This is an impossible reality to live with and an incredible injustice. How can Shane's family ever move on without knowing why this happened and making sure it will never happen again?

When a sentence is imposed by the courts, we understandably expect the sentence will be served. It is unsettling to discover this is not always the case. It is devastating to realise that the tragic death of a young man just starting out in life could have been avoided. There is no doubt that An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Department of Justice have many questions to answer. There has been a litany of failures on so many levels by so many bodies that this must be investigated. It is for this reason that there must be a full public inquiry into this case. It is disingenuous of the Minister in her response to refer the matter to the justice committee. I am a member of the justice committee and I know the justice committee has shut down debate at every point and at every stage on other issues - not on this issue - in the four years for which I have been a member of it. Why would the committee be any different now, in the jaws of an election? It is only to be seen to be doing something and it would ensure there will not be answers for the O'Farrell family, and that would be a disgrace.

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