17.10.23 John Lahart Dail Eireann

17 10 23 John Lahart

Uploaded by Lucia O’Farrell on 2023-10-19.

I welcome the O’Farrell family. I was down this kind of road when, in opposition, I was Dublin spokesperson, with the Stardust families and inquiry. I put several questions as Dublin spokesperson and I had several motions, as did many Deputies before me in previous Parliaments, to be told by Minister for Justice after Minister for Justice that everything that could be done had been done, and that every avenue that could be explored had been explored. I had to go back and face individual members of those families, lead them on a merry dance and tell them that we had exhausted the process. I said I had tried all avenues and that we had exhausted the process. Then I woke up one morning to read that an Attorney General in the previous Government had made a decision that an inquest could be heard. That will not happen a second time; that is the first point I will make.
The second point I will make is as follows. Why does a Dublin Deputy have any interest in this case? For me it is mainly due to the man behind me, Deputy McGuinness, who has raised this consistently in the previous Parliament and in the one before that. He made such an impression on me that I travelled to Carrickmacross to meet Lucia and her husband Jim. If this story was not true it would make a thriller. The manner in which Lucia O’Farrell and her family have investigated this would leave even the most proficient forensic scientist or detective in the ha’penny place. They have unearthed a litany of errors, travesties and absences of connection between the judicial system, the Garda, the Probation Service and the bail service that even if you only had one question – and that was nothing to do with Shane but with the system – it would be if it happened in this case, how many other cases do these kind of errors happen in.
For that reason alone, we need to delve deeper into this.
The final point I want to make in the appallingly brief time Parliament affords us to go into these issues, unfortunately, relates to a comment made recently by the Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Ó Fearghaíl, when he was talking about the security of politicians. One of the points he made that made an impression on me was that it might help us a little from a security point of view if we followed through on the commitments we made and if, more often than not, we did what we said we would do.
I support everything Deputy Brendan Smith said about the unanswered questions that have been left here and that the family deserves to have answered.