14.06.18 – Seanad – Senator David Norris, Statements related to the Death of Shane O’Farrell

14.06.18 Seanad Senator David Norris

Senator David Norris addresses Seanad Éireann on death of Shane O’Farrell

Senator D. Norris: “I welcome the Minister to the House. I also welcome a very remarkable woman, Mrs. Lucia O’Farrell, to the House. This is a Greek tragedy; I do not believe any other phrase can describe it. There are three principal actors. There is Shane O’Farrell, a remarkable young man who was brilliantly clever and with law degrees from both Trinity and UCD and who was a significant athlete. He was a handsome young man and was loved by his family. Then there is Lucia, his mother, a most remarkable woman. She would be an addition to any commission of inquiry. We have just had a meeting with her this afternoon and she presented a lucid, clear, detailed forensic examination of the timeline of everything that occurred in this appalling case. Then there is Zigimantas Gridziuska, a Lithuanian drug addict who had multiple convictions before he even came into this country. He arrived here as if he had a clean slate and then embarked on an extraordinary career of crime. There is no doubt whatever that had the Garda, at a series of stages, acted appropriately and as it is required to do by law, Shane O’Farrell would be alive today.
Let us consider the Minister’s speech. Some of it I welcome, including the tone of commiseration with the O’Farrell family. To a large extent, however, I believe he is just passing the parcel. Someone in the Garda may get a rap on the knuckles and that will be it. There are serious issues to be considered, including issues of principle and issues that affect not just this case but also a series of others, both in the past and future.
The Minister stated: “For clarity, let me state that the independent review mechanism was not established to act as a commission of inquiry or investigation”. That is one very good reason we should have such a commission of inquiry. My colleague, Senator Bacik, just indicated to me that the Lower House has just passed a resolution demanding an inquiry. That is the voice of the people. It will ring out from this Chamber also today.
Matters arise such as the conflict of interest. I am not impugning any base motives but one of the senior counsel involved in the so-called independent review mechanism was somebody who had represented the driver of the car. There is a clear conflict of interest. The Minister says he had nothing to do with the independent review mechanism.”