Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

9:35 pm

Photo of Patricia RyanPatricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)

I thank Deputy Carthy. I welcome the O'Farrell family here. I wish it were under other circumstances.

It is almost 13 years since Shane O'Farrell's family was given the worst news any family could face - that Shane was not coming home. He had been the victim of a hit-and-run, struck down while cycling home by a car driven by Zigimantas Gridziuska, who immediately left the scene of the accident before handing himself into gardaí the following day. He was a known criminal. As if losing Shane was not enough, his family had to discover that Gridziuska should never have been at liberty to drive a car, but he was. There were successive Garda failures to prosecute properly or even bring to the attention of the courts multiple offences committed by Gridziuska in the months before he struck and killed Shane on that faithful August day. Gardaí failed to put evidence before the courts, arrest warrants were not executed and bail orders were blatantly breached, all for nothing to be done because of abject failures by gardaí and the courts system. This allowed Gridziuska his freedom ultimately to take Shane's life.

Shane's family has never rested in their struggle for answers. Some 13 years on and there has still been no justice for them. Where is the inquiry promised by the Fianna Fáil motion in 2018? Six years later, and nearly five years into this current Government, there has still been no action from Fianna Fáil. There have only been delays, deflections and denials. Was that motion that this House passed just for show or is Fianna Fáil going to stand by it?

Was Mr. Gridziuska an informer for the Garda? If he was, people need to be told. The next thing is that the only action we can have here is an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Shane's death and the abject failures and the Courts Service. I was here this night last week. There was the very same thing with the Minister and the Garda, what is going on and the lack of security for people. Here we are tonight with the same thing about gardaí. What is the Government so afraid of that it is continuing to object to and frustrate all efforts to set up this inquiry? Why has Fianna Fáil made no effort to follow through with its 2018 motion, despite having had ample opportunities to do so while in government for almost five years now? Why is there this delay? Shane's family deserve this inquiry. I urge all in this House, and especially in Fianna Fáil, to support this motion. I take on board that the Minister said she was not going to oppose this motion but leaving this case on a shelf for another five years is not going to work either. The Minister's response is shameful. Shame on her.

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