We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Lucia O'Farrell
Shane O'Farrell

Mother of hit-and-run victim: Driver 'should not have been at liberty to kill'

Lucia O’Farrell said that her son’s killer should never have been allowed out on bail.

THE MOTHER OF a young man killed in a hit-and-run incident four years ago has criticised the legal system for “failing” her family.

Shane O’Farrell, a 23-year-old law graduate, died on 2 August 2011 after being knocked off his bike by a car outside Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan.

The driver of the vehicle, Lithuanian national Zigimantas Gridzuiska, was allowed to walk free on the condition that he leave Ireland.

Gridziuska had multiple prior convictions for aggravated burglary, road traffic offences and handling stolen property in his native country before moving to the Carrickmacross area.

In January 2011, after he appealed a 12-month sentence for theft, Monaghan Circuit Court released Gridziuska on bail for a year, but he made several court appearances in subsequent months for offences in that county, as well as Cavan and Louth.

“We do know the gardaí failed to put that on the Pulse system,” Shane’s mother, Lucia O’Farrell, told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show this morning.

He did re-offend four months later and he should have been returned to court.
So on the evening in question, he should not have been at liberty to kill.
Had the guards done their basic duty … he would have been in custody.

Insurance fraud

Earlier on the day Shane was killed, Lucia said, Gridziuska and two other “known heroin addicts” were searched by drugs squad officers, who switched the driver of the car they were travelling in, leaving Gridziuska behind the wheel.

Within an hour, Shane was on the roof, bonnet and windscreen. He had struck him from behind.
He never touched the breaks. He fled … He returned to his wife and they both went to bed.

Gridziuska was handed an eight-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing death in February 2013, on the basis that he leave the country within 21 days.

This condition was never met, Lucia said, because Gridziuska was charged a month later with related insurance fraud.

She claimed gardaí had spent five months preparing a file on the same fraud as part of an investigation into Shane’s death, but that it was only submitted to the DPP a day after the dangerous driving trial.

Lucia told presenter Pat Kenny that her son was “simply a joy to know”.

Everyone loved him – the students in college, his teachers, neighbours. Shane lived his life for what he could do for other people.  He was always smiling …
To know Shane was to love him. To be in his company was time well spent.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is currently investigating allegations made by the O’Farrell family.

Read: Families say gardaí didn’t investigate violent deaths properly

Read: ‘Then everyone died’: I lost four people I loved in 14 months

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.