Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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


9:25 pm

Photo of Marian HarkinMarian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim, Independent)

For more than eight years, the constituent whose name was best known in both my offices, in Brussels and in Sligo, was Lucia O'Farrell. I will be honest. At times I wondered how Lucia O'Farrell could keep going, but every time she contacted me I knew why. What astonished me was that each time she contacted my office the list of errors, mistakes, omissions, misjudgments, gaps in information, confusion and chaos in this case grew and grew, a bit like Pinocchio's nose. I do not have the time to go through the shocking discrepancies in this case, the abject failure of the justice system at all levels and the State circling the wagons. It is there for anybody who wants to see it.

I am further shocked, if that is possible, that a call from this House and the Seanad back in 2018 for a public inquiry was ignored and is still being ignored. Tonight the Minister has an opportunity to put that right. She is not opposing the motion. Is that because she is afraid the Government would lose the vote? I heard some of the Minister's Fianna Fáil colleagues speak here tonight. The Minister could have tabled a countermotion saying she would refer this to the justice committee, which is what she intends to do. Why did the Minister not have the courage to put down her countermotion and see whether the House would support it or the motion from Sinn Féin calling for a public inquiry? I believe that a public inquiry would have been supported by the majority of people in this House. The Minister does not owe a public inquiry just to the memory of Shane O'Farrell and to his family, she owes it to the people of Ireland.


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