That Dáil Éireann:
— on 2nd August, 2011, Shane O'Farrell was killed while cycling home when he was struck by a car driven by Zigimantas Gridziuška;
— previously, on 11th January, 2011, in Monaghan Circuit Court, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of theft, and his sentence was adjourned for one year, with the judge stating that if he was convicted of other theft or fraud offences he was to be brought back before the court and that he would be put in jail;
— on 9th May, 2011, in Ardee District Court, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of theft yet was not then brought back before Monaghan Circuit Court where a prison sentence would have been activated;
— on 11th May, 2011, in Dundalk District Court, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of speeding;
— on 8th June, 2011, in Carrickmacross District Court, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of possession of heroin;
— on 14th July, 2011, in Newry, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of theft;
— on 25th July, 2011, in Monaghan District Court, Mr. Gridziuška was convicted of having no tax disc;
— all of these offences constituted a breach by Mr. Gridziuška of his bail bond, yet no steps were taken to revoke the bail granted to him;
— consequently, at the time of the collision, Mr. Gridziuška was on bail in respect of a number of offences and had breached his bail bond, and was serving a number of suspended sentences which should have been activated had the courts been informed of the relevant previous convictions;
— approximately one hour prior to the collision, the car in which Mr. Gridziuška was travelling was stopped by Gardaí and was noted to be unroadworthy and without a National Car Test certificate; and
— in January 2012, a complaint was made to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) regarding the conduct and role of An Garda Síochána in the above matters, and a report into part of the complaints was published in April 2018;
— there is an obligation on An Garda Síochána to bring persons convicted of criminal offences, while serving suspended sentences, before the court and to inform the sentencing court that the person has been convicted of subsequent offences;
— where a member of An Garda Síochána becomes aware that a person has breached, or is in breach of a condition of bail, there is an obligation on such member to bring that breach to the attention of the court; and
— there is an obligation on GSOC to properly investigate all complaints it receives and to determine all admissible complaints in a timely and expeditious fashion; and
calls on the Government to:
— immediately establish a Commission of Investigation into the death of Shane O'Farrell; and
— ensure that adequate information systems exist within the Courts Service, so that courts can immediately access information in respect of sentences imposed or orders made on persons previously convicted of offences.
I will share time with Deputies Niamh Smyth, John McGuinness and Declan Breathnach.
As the proposer of the motion I welcome the opportunity to commence the debate. I will begin by informing the House as to the purpose of the motion. It is to try to convince and force the Government to establish a statutory inquiry in respect of the circumstances preceding the death of young Shane O'Farrell, the circumstances that took place afterwards, and the Garda investigation in respect of it.
The death of Shane O'Farrell was a tragedy. It was a tragedy in particular for his loving mother and father, Lucia and James O'Farrell, and for his four sisters. I very much welcome them here this evening for the hearing of this Private Members' motion.
The circumstances of Shane O'Farrell's death, for those who are unaware of them, are that on 2 August 2011 Shane O'Farrell was knocked down and killed by a vehicle being driven by a Lithuanian man, Zigimantas Gridziuška. Shane had gone out on the road around his house in Carrickmacross at 9.30 p.m. to go for a cycle. As a result of that he was killed through the collision with and actions of Mr. Zigimantas Gridziuška, who was driving the vehicle at Tullyvara Upper, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. As I said at the outset, Shane's death was a tragedy for his loving family. In particular, however, it was a tragedy for him, a young man who was a law graduate of University College Dublin. He was obviously a person who excelled in academia but also had great sporting abilities and interests. On the day he was killed he had just submitted his thesis for the purpose of his masters in law that he was carrying out at Trinity College Dublin.
I am aware that tragic deaths occur in many families in Ireland. Just because there is a tragic death it does not mean it should be debated in Dáil Éireann, and just because there is a tragic death it does not mean there is any responsibility on the Government to have a statutory inquiry in respect of that death. However, there are circumstances in respect of the death of Shane O'Farrell which, in my opinion and in the opinion of Fianna Fáil, mean the Government should establish an inquiry into the circumstances preceding and after his death.
I am conscious that I am sharing time with my colleagues, but I want to identify what I believe is one of the central issues that merits and justifies an investigation into the circumstances giving rise to the death of Shane O'Farrell. We know Shane was killed on 2 August 2011 when he was cycling home and struck by the car driven by the Lithuanian man. What is particularly relevant, however, is that some seven months prior to that, on 11 January 2011, the driver of the vehicle had been convicted of theft in Monaghan Circuit Court. As a result of that conviction the judge hearing the case adjourned it for one year to determine whether a custodial sentence would be imposed. However, the judge hearing that case in Monaghan Circuit Court directed that if the person driving the car was convicted of any further fraud or theft offences in that year he must be brought back before Monaghan Circuit Court and he would be put in jail. What is particularly relevant is that on 9 May 2011, some three months before Shane was killed, the same individual was convicted of a theft offence in Ardee District Court but, inexplicably, he was not brought back before Monaghan Circuit Court, where his custodial sentence would have been activated. As if that was not bad enough, we know that on 11 May 2011 the same person was convicted of speeding in Dundalk District Court. On 8 June 2011 he was convicted of possession of heroin in Carrickmacross District Court. On 14 July 2011 he was convicted of theft in Newry and on 25 July 2011 he was convicted in Monaghan District Court of having no tax disc.
One of the reasons we believe there should be an inquiry is that the O'Farrell family and the Irish public are entitled to accountability as to why the individual who had been convicted of all these subsequent offences was not brought back before Monaghan Circuit Court. Had he been brought back we believe the custodial sentence would have been commenced. This is one of the reasons we believe there should be a commission of investigation and an inquiry.
There are very many others but I want to allow my colleagues speak.