I am sharing my time with Deputy Mary Lou McDonald.
I welcome the members of the O’Farrell family to the Gallery. The Minister has met them previously. Anyone who has met them knows there is going to be a public inquiry into why the man who killed Shane, who should have been in prison at the time, was not in prison and the handling of the case by State agencies before and after Shane’s death. The reason we know this is that the O’Farrell family is simply never going to give up.
The Minister mentioned in her opening remarks that the scoping exercise was in response to the desire of this House to examine the death of Shane O’Farrell further. That is not true. This House and its desire were explicitly clear. This House voted for the establishment of a public inquiry. The scoping exercise was actually a mechanism to usurp the desire not only of this House but also that of the Upper House.
The Minister referred to the trial, the Coroner’s Court, the GSOC investigation and the scoping exercise as if all of them amounted to an in-depth analysis of why the person who killed Shane was at large on the night of the killing. In each and every one of these, pivotal and vital information was denied to the court or investigative body. This information was subsequently unearthed, not by any State body but by Lucia O’Farrell and her family. Every single time that anomalies have been pointed out, there has been an acknowledgement of mistakes and lessons to be learned, with the statement that we will ensure it does not happen again. This will happen again unless we get to the truth in this instance.
On 11 January 2011, seven or eight months before Shane was killed, Mr. Zigimantas Gridziuska appeared before Monaghan Circuit Court. He had pled guilty to charges of theft and stealing property in 2010. The case was adjourned for one year. The judge actually said Mr. Gridziuska had been free of conviction apparently since the last occasion this happened, which was July 2010. He said he was advised Mr. Gridziuska was clean of drugs since November of the previous year and he proposed to adjourn the case until January 2012. The judge clearly did not have the full facts because Mr. Gridziuska was not free of conviction since July 2010. On every single occasion that he appeared before a judge in a court, vital information that would have led to a different determination by that judge was not conveyed to him or her. Mr. Gridziuska was in breach of multiple bail conditions of multiple courts. A short period before Shane was killed, Mr. Gridziuska was actually stopped by members of the Garda. He was the passenger in the car in which he was travelling. That car was unroadworthy. None of the individuals in the car was adequately insured to drive it and they were well known to gardaí. The action of the gardaí on the night was not to ask those in the car to get out of it, confiscate the car or do what I would argue would be done to any Member of this House in a car of the same nature and in similar circumstances but to ask Mr. Gridziuska to move from the passenger side of the car to the driver’s side to drive. For several years up to half an hour before Shane was killed, there were anomalies and serious questions as to why such activity continued to happen or why vital information was withheld from the judge every single time Mr. Gridziuska was brought before a court. Every single time there was an interaction with the Garda, this guy got off, effectively scot-free. The only time he did not get off entirely scot-free was when he was convicted north of the Border and was expected to serve a short custodial sentence.
While he was serving that short custodial sentence, he was supposed to be signing on every day as part of his bail conditions, yet no one seemed to ask why he was not. The scoping exercise does not get to the heart of that fundamental question.
The Minister mentioned there was a file on Mr. Gridziuska in the Garda national crime security and intelligence service. We do not know what is in that file. It goes to the heart of the questions that have arisen. I mentioned the last time we discussed this that the view of anyone who looks objectively at the litany of failures of our judicial and policing system in holding this man to account for his multiple breaches of our laws, is that there was a relationship akin to that of an informer. Yet, no report the Minister mentioned, including those of the trial, the Coroner, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, or the scoping exercise has adequately addressed that question. Was the man who killed Shane O’Farrell, Zigimantas Gridziuska – I state on the record again that he was solely responsible for the death of Shane O’Farrell – an informer for An Garda Síochána? If that question cannot be answered, it is clear that none of the examinations that have taken place has got to the core of this issue. The only way we will get to the core of the issue and the only way we will ensure this never happens to another family is if we have a public inquiry as has been decided by this House and the Upper House and as has been correctly demanded by the O’Farrell family. I urge the Minister again. She has a litany of reports on her desk the recommendations of which she has ignored. Will she ignore the recommendation that there is no need for further examination of this matter? There clearly is.