Death of Shane O'Farrell: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Jim O'Callaghan on Tuesday, 12 June 2018:
That Dáil Éireann:
notes that:
— on 2nd August, 2011, Shane O'Farrell was killed while cycling home when he was struck by a car driven by Zigimantas Gradzuiska;
— previously, on 11th January, 2011, in Monaghan Circuit Court, Mr. Gradzuiska 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. Gradzuiska 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. Gradzuiska was convicted of speeding;
— on 8th June, 2011, in Carrickmacross District Court, Mr. Gradzuiska was convicted of possession of heroin;
— on 14th July, 2011, in Newry, Mr. Gradzuiska was convicted of theft;
— on 25th July, 2011, in Monaghan District Court, Mr. Gradzuiska was convicted of having no tax disc;
— all of these offences constituted a breach by Mr. Gradzuiska of his bail bond, yet no steps were taken to revoke the bail granted to him;
— consequently, at the time of the collision, Mr. Gradzuiska 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. Gradzuiska 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;
recognises that:
— 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.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:
To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:
“— offers its sincere condolences to the O’Farrell family following the tragic death of Shane O’Farrell on 2nd August, 2011;
— expresses its genuine and heartfelt concern at the circumstances and events that led to the road traffic incident that cut Shane O’Farrell’s life so tragically short; and
— commits itself to ensuring that those circumstances and events are fully investigated so that the lessons of this tragic loss are learned and applied to prevent other families suffering similar losses in the future;
notes that:
— the Oireachtas established the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) in 2006 with the statutory responsibility to deal with complaints concerning the conduct of members of An Garda Síochána;
— GSOC’s independence and impartiality are its guarantee to members of the public, and indeed to members of the Gardaí who are the subject of complaint, that any and all complaints will be investigated properly and thoroughly, with due regard to the rights of all those involved;
— members of the family of Shane O’Farrell made in excess of 50 complaints to GSOC in relation to the circumstances surrounding his death and subsequent events and that in April 2014, the then Minister for Justice and Equality asked GSOC to investigate certain related matters;
— GSOC investigated all matters admitted for investigation as a single investigation;
— in May 2014, the then Minister for Justice and Equality referred a number of complaints surrounding the road traffic incident and subsequent matters to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM);
— the IRM was established to provide for independent reviews of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case;
— the recommendation made by the IRM was that no further ministerial action should be taken in this case, and that the appropriate forum for raising matters related to alleged Garda failings was GSOC, which was already investigating certain matters arising from the tragic death in this case;
— over the course of a lengthy criminal investigation, GSOC considered a total of 56 allegations that it had received in relation to the case;
— in April 2018, GSOC issued its first report on this case to the Minister for Justice and Equality and provided a copy to the family of Shane O’Farrell and that the report was subsequently published by GSOC;
— this first report considered the case from a criminal perspective in accordance with Section 98 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and that each allegation was examined to determine if any conduct by the Gardaí could constitute a criminal offence; and
— GSOC found that there were no grounds for criminal proceedings against any Garda, but that it did identify conduct that may amount to a breach of discipline by members of An Garda Síochána;
further notes that:
— GSOC has made a number of recommendations in its first report and that the Minister for Justice and Equality will be pursuing these with relevant parties;
— GSOC issued a statement with its first report in which it states that it has commenced an investigation under Section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act into 13 of the 56 allegations concerning matters that may constitute breaches of discipline by members of An Garda Síochána; and
— the instigation of another investigatory process while the GSOC investigation is underway would risk undermining GSOC’s disciplinary investigation and any disciplinary proceedings that may be instituted at a later date by the Garda Commissioner;
resolves that the GSOC investigation under Section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 be allowed to take its course independently and with respect for natural justice and fair procedures and that nothing is done in the Dáil that would undermine that investigation; and
acknowledges the commitment of Government, upon completion of the disciplinary process, to consider whether there are matters that require further investigation and if so, to bring before Dáil Éireann, for its urgent consideration, any proposals that it may wish to make in this regard.”
- (Minister for Justice and Equality)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion regarding the death of Shane O'Farrell. On Tuesday, 12 June 2018, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed and in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 35; Níl, 76; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Maria Bailey and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Michael Moynihan and John Lahart.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after "to determine all admissible complaints in a timely and expeditious fashion;" and substitute the following:

"— the GSOC report was delivered in a timeframe that was not acceptable, and was ultimately deficient;

— this case involved multiple failures on the part of several justice agencies of the State, resulting in Zigimantas Gradzuiska being at liberty on the date of the death of Shane O'Farrell; and

— that it is now necessary to have the actions of An Garda Síochána, the Director of Public Prosecutions, GSOC, and the courts examined in order to establish the truth as to how such failures took place, including the information-sharing systems as between those agencies; and

therefore calls on the Government to:

— immediately establish a public inquiry 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."

Amendment put.

In view of the fact the Fianna Fáil Party is not nominating tellers, and having regard to Standing Order 72, when one party fails to provide tellers, it is considered that the proposal is carried. I deem amendment No. 1 carried.

Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 3:

To insert the following after "orders made on persons previously convicted of offences.":

"— ensure that any inquiry should extend to the information-sharing systems between the Garda, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the courts;

— ensure that any inquiry should extend to the information-sharing systems within the judicial system; and

— ensure that any inquiry should be held in public to restore confidence in the Department of Justice and Equality and to ensure that, in the public interest, they should be investigated thoroughly, comprehensively and transparently."

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 9; Níl, 101; Staon, 3.

  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Smith, Bríd.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Bríd Smith and Gino Kenny; Níl, Deputies Michael Moynihan and John Lahart.
Amendment declared lost.
Note that in relation to the above division, Deputy Joe McHugh, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, was away on official business and the Staon button was inadvertently pressed in his seat.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.