From top: Lucia O’Farrell outside Leinster House yesterday; Terms of reference submitted by Judge Gerard Haughton for a scoping exercise into the death of Lucia’s son Shane O’Farrell; terms of reference from the Department of Justice
Lucia O’Farrell spoke to Dr Gavin Jennings on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland following her and her family’s protest outside Leinster House yesterday.
The family believe that the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and his department are narrowing the terms of reference of a scoping inquiry to be carried out by District Court Judge Gerard Haughton into the death of Lucia’s 23-year-old son Shane.
Shane was cycling home in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, when he was struck by a car driven by Zigimantas Gridzuiska and killed on August 2, 2011.
After meeting with the O’Farrell family, the judge had put forth his own terms of reference for the scope earlier this year.
His terms made reference to the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights and outlined that he would review: the criminal prosecution of Zigimantas Gridzuiska over Shane’s death; Zigimantas Gridzuiska’s previous prosecutions; the review of Shane’s case by the Independent Review Mechanism; the criminal investigation by GSOC; the subsequent disciplinary investigation by GSOC; and documentation gathered for Shane’s inquest.
However, these have now been omitted from the minister’s terms of reference and the family believe they have been “watered down” greatly.
During this morning’s interview, Dr Jennings and Lucia were discussing the difference between the judge submitting that he review the previous investigations and Department of Justice’s terms of reference stating the outcomes of previous reports and investigations will be taken into account when they had this exchange:
Lucia O’Farrell: “That may well sound well and good [that previous reports will be taken into account] but that’s taking on board that the investigations were done correctly and we can prove there’s serious flaws in those [investigations] and inaccuracies…”
Dr Gavin Jennings: “What investigations are these, Lucia?”
O’Farrell: “The investigation is, one of them, was by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, which was seven years and there are two very serious flaws in that.
“One being that the GSOC report stated that the guards were unaware that Zigimantas Gridzuiska was outside the jurisdiction, reoffending two weeks before he killed Shane [while on bail].
“And we have a letter from both the PSNI and the prosecution [service] in Northern Ireland saying the guards were fully aware of this. They had contacted them.
“Also bail, in relation to Shane [his death] was fixed at €500 despite eight offences following the killing of Shane. That bail was never taken from him.
“And we have, in the GSOC report, it states that the judge estreated the bail. We have a letter form the Supt who prosecuted the case saying bail wasn’t estreated.
“So the public…our family are entitled to the truth. The public are entitled to the truth. But the members of the Dáil and Seanad voted for a public inquiry and the Government and Minister [for Justice Charlie Flanagan] has disrespected the will of the democratically elected people of this country. And we need to get the terms of reference right to give the judge the right tools to do his job.
“Which is looking at all of the circumstances of the case. That’s what was looked for and voted on in the Dáil and Seanad, to look at all of the circumstances.
“Looking at an outcome of a report is not doing what was voted on in the Dáil.
“And the terms will not allow the inquiry to assert the full and relevant facts in Shane’s case and it appears to be in an attempt to curtail the scope of the inquiry and further delay this.
“We are eight years and three months [since Shane’s death] and we have been, the only word I can say is: abused. Abused by the Department of Justice.”
O’Farrell: “As [the late former member of the UN Human Rights Committee] Nigel Rodley said: Delay, deny, lie.”
Jennings: “Lucia O’Farrell, thank you very much for speaking to us. That’s Lucia O’Farrell, the mother of Shane O’Farrell who was 23 when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2011.”
The O’Farrell family have been campaigning for several years for not only the matters leading up to Shane’s death to be investigated but, also, for their concerns about matters which occurred after Shane’s death to also be examined.
In March 2018, the Dáil voted by a majority of two to one for a commission of investigation to be set up to investigate Shane’s death.
The same motion was carried in the Seanad in February 2019.
Listen back in full here
Previously: Shane O’Farrell on Broadsheet