Adams welcomes Taoiseach agreement to meet the family of Shane O’Farrell
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed todays Dáil commitment by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to meet with the family of Shane O’Farrell who was killed in a road accident in 2011. The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has also agreed to participate in the meeting.
The Sinn Féin leader raised the issue today during Leaders Questions in the Dáil.
The O’Farrell family are campaigning for a Commission of Investigation into the handling of the case by An Garda Síochána and the Justice agencies.
Shane O’Farrell’s mother, Lucia, was in the public gallery.
Teachta Adams said:
“Just before the summer recess, I gave the Taoiseach a file about the tragic death of Shane O’Farrell as a result of a hit-and-run in County Monaghan in August 2011. The O’Farrell family believe that Shane’s death was preventable and that there were multiple failings by the Gardaí and the Justice system. They believe a statutory Commission of Investigation is the only way that their concerns will be answered.
“59 complaints have been made to GSOC in relation to Shane’s case, but after four and a half years there has been no report.
“The Taoiseach indicated today that a report from GSOC might be expected soon. This is important but does not diminish the need for a Commission of Investigation to examine the specifics of this case and its ramifications for the justice and policing system.
“Shane O’Farrell was 23, out cycling on his bike, when he was mowed down at speed. In that instant, Lucia and Jim were robbed of their pride and joy, their Trinity student, about to start work in the European Parliament, a fluent Irish speaker, a gentle young man with a bright future.
“They have lost their only son, but this case goes beyond the tragic death of Shane O’Farrell.
“It reveals a series of grievous flaws in the management and response by the justice agencies.
“Shane O’Farrell cannot be brought back, but his family can get justice.
“I welcome the Taoiseach’s agreement to meet the family. This needs to be done as soon as is possible.”
Shane O’Farrell was killed in August 2011. The man allegedly involved in his death was known to INTERPOL and had forty-two prior convictions, including drugs offences, theft, road traffic offences, malicious damage and handling stolen property.
At the time of Shane’s death, the man was on bail from Cavan Circuit Court, Monaghan Circuit Court, Dundalk Circuit Court and Newry Court. He continuously breached his bail conditions and reoffended.
Two weeks before Shane’s death, Gardaí were notified of this man’s arrest in the north by the PSNI for breaching his bail conditions, but failed to take action and obtain a warrant for his arrest.
On the day Shane was killed, the car carrying the accused was stopped by the Garda Drugs Unit. It had no NCT and wasn’t roadworthy. The man, who was a passenger when the car was stopped, assumed the driver’s role in the presence of Gardaí, despite not being insured.
The inquest into Shane’s death heard Gardaí at the scene felt the occupants of the car were in possession of a controlled substance, but the car wasn’t searched. Within an hour, Shane was dead. Eleven hours later, the accused was arrested. He was released on bail a day later.
Gardaí failed to inform the judge of his convictions or breaching of bail conditions. In the aftermath of Shane’s death, the accused committed further offences and served a week in Wheatfield Prison for a previous offence. He was also arrested in Belfast on two counts of theft.
He was eventually tried for motor offenses and was given the option of a custodial sentence or a return to Lithuania.