‘They Appear To Be Making It Up As They Go Along’



Lucia O’Farrell

You may know the case of hit-and-run victim, Shane O’Farrell, is one of the 282 cases of alleged Garda misconduct being examined by a panel of two senior and five junior counsel.

The panel was established by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald following the publication of the Guerin Report which looked at the handling of allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe about gardaí and the Department of Justice. 

The Department of Justice wrote to Ms O’Farrell to tell her Shane’s case was being included in this review, on August 8, 2014.

In relation to the review, Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil last Wednesday:

The review of each allegation consists of an examination of the papers by a counsel from the panel and does not involve interviews or interaction with complainants or any other form of investigation, although counsel may recommend that I seek further information to assist in coming to an appropriate recommendation in any particular case.”

Ms Fitzgerald, in response to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins, said:

“This is an opportunity to go through the detailed information on cases and we have asked everyone to submit material in writing. In many cases there is a considerable amount of correspondence. If there is nothing in writing I call on Deputy Collins to encourage people to put as much in writing as they can. We have put no limitation on the material that can be submitted and indeed extra material has been submitted in several cases.”

However, Lucia O’Farrell says:

“Perhaps Ms Fitzgerald could identify to me when she asked ‘everyone to submit material in writing’? I find this response unusual as neither in the letter to me or letters to Senator David Norris or John McGuinness or Finian McGrath (who wrote to her on my behalf), did she ask for materials to be submitted to to her. They appear to be making it up as they go along.”

“Initially, when the two senior counsels were appointed, this review was to take eight to 12 weeks. Therefore this would be due out soon. How can they now say on the Dáil floor, at the end of September, “we asked everyone to submit material in writing”?

“What about all the other families, who did not hear this on Wednesday, or who don’t have the internet, or can’t get broadband? I phoned around to inform who I could.

Last Friday, and in response to Ms Fitzgerald’s comments made in the Dáil, Ms O’Farrell drove from her home in Monaghan to Dublin, to deliver material to the Department of Justice at Stephen’s Green.

She says:

“I asked the desk person/security to phone upstairs for the person who was aware I was coming with this material. This call was made, but the secretary to minister Fitzgerald, Chris Quattrociocchi, refused to send anyone down stairs to collect and sign for the material which was in a brown A4 envelope. I left it with the desk person.”

Meanwhile, one of the Senior Counsel appointed to the review is Conor Devally – who defended Zigimantus Gridziuska, the man who killed Shane O’Farrell.

The O’Farrell family have since been told that Mr Devally won’t be involved in the Shane O’Farrell case due to a conflict of interest.

Despite this, Mr Devally will receive a brief fee of €20,000 to oversee all the complaints. The other senior counsel involved is Aileen Donnelly, who was made a High Court judge last week.

On foot of this appointment, Ms O’Farrell asks:

“Will she continue in the capacity as SC in this review process? Will she be replaced? If she is not replaced, will Connor Devally be overseeing all cases?”

The junior counsel include: Paul Carroll, John Fitzgerald, Tony McGuillicuddy, Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin and Karen O’Connor.

Previously: “Delay, Deny, Lie, Then Cover Up”

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7 thoughts on “‘They Appear To Be Making It Up As They Go Along’

  1. Clampers Outside!

    This Frances one is a complete joke, since she came in, it’s say one thing, next day find out she’s doing another. Headless chicken is all that comes to mind.

    I thought anyone would be better than Shatter, someone was needed to go in and put the foot down and all we got is a gombeen mouth piece who will say anything when a mic is stuck under her nose.

    1. SOMK

      Yeah, thought that myself during the clamoring for Shatter’s resignation, careful what you wish for, what’s this going to achieve? All it will mean is that the issues in question, bugging of GSOC, penalty points, abuse of power, cover ups of incompetency, gets swept under the carpet and are considered ‘dealt with’. Come election time everything will be framed in terms the economic performance (despite the fact it has nothing to do with FG/Lab policy, seeing as all they’ve done is what the Troika ordered them to do, and the export economy and Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” did the rest) and serious questions about our police force (which would never have gained traction if it weren’t for a foreign newspaper and social media) are kept out of the election narrative (“sure of course we’re going to reform everything!”), and we continue pottering along in a society that’s essentially designed with functional obsolescence in order that a political class, rooted in civil war politics, will continue to have the power to grant favours.

      In fairness to Shatter, by all accounts he was a hard and diligent worker, apparently the main driver of the forthcoming legislation for gay marriage, he was also a bit of an arse, and the carry on over releasing the information about Wallace was a flagrant abuse of power, but I don’t think his resignation has or will achieve anything other than possibly sweep all this under the carpet.

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