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.
“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”