Speaking recently in the Dáil, Cavan-Monaghan TD Pauline Tully called on the government to establish an independent public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell, stating that nothing less will be good enough.
Shane O’Farrell was killed in 2011 in a hit-and-run incident involving a car driven by Zigimantas Gridziuska who was at the time out on continuous bail since August 2008 even though there were multiple breaches of the bail conditions.
Teachta Tully said:
“Shane O’Farrell’s family deserve the truth. They deserve to know why and how the man who killed him, Zigimantas Gridziuska, was out on bail at the time he killed Shane in a hit-and-run incident on 2 August 2011.
“At the time, Mr. Gridziuska had 34 previous convictions across three jurisdictions. He had been on continuous bail since August 2008 even though there were multiple breaches of the bail conditions.
“Shane’s family have established that there is a file on Mr. Gridziuska in the Garda National Crime and Security Intelligence Service (NCSIS), but they do not know what is on that file. They deserve to know. They deserve to know, as suspected by many due in no small part to the existence of this file, whether Mr. Gridziuska was a Garda informant.
“This case raises very serious questions for the Garda, the Department of Justice, the Courts Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions. It raises serious issues about the criminal justice system, around bail, previous convictions, coroner’s inquests, the effectiveness of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, and transparency about the use of informers by members of the Garda. These questions need to be investigated in an open, transparent and independent manner.
“In 2018, the Dáil supported a motion calling for the establishment of a public inquiry. This was followed by the Seanad supporting a similar motion in early 2019.
“Instead of this, the then Government initiated a scoping inquiry which it later amended to become a scoping exercise.
“However, this scoping exercise did not provide for any input from Shane’s family into the terms of reference. In fact, the report acknowledges that the family’s attempt to have some input into the terms of reference was ultimately totally disregarded.
“Not only that but in July 2019, Mr. Justice Haughton received comprehensively amended terms of reference from the Minister that were considerably more restrictive than even the Department’s original terms of reference.
“As if this was not bad enough, instead of answering the fundamental questions of why and how Mr. Gridziuska was at liberty on 2 August 2011 in circumstances where, for a period of two years, he repeatedly committed offences on bail and breached bail conditions imposed upon him in both the District and Circuit Courts, and where members of An Garda Síochána were aware of these breaches, the report has, according to the O’Farrell family, adopted a victim-blaming narrative in which Shane has no voice.
“The outcome of this scoping exercise has left Shane’s family, in their own words, very disappointed and, as they point out, it has left many outstanding matters unanswered.
“The family brought the matters to the attention of Mr. Justice Haughton, the Minister for Justice and her Department.
“It seems to me and many others that the purpose of this scoping exercise was not to get to the truth of this matter but, in fact, to delay and deter the truth from coming out.
“This has been about protecting the State and its agencies.
“What is needed and what the Minister should establish without delay is what both Houses of the Oireachtas supported, namely, a fully independent, open and transparent public inquiry.
“Nothing less will be good enough.”
Link to Dáil statement: https://youtu.be/JWoh0wOy0bE