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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 9 July, 2020

Gsoc inquiry into investigation of Shane O'Farrell death finds no criminal offences on part of gardaí

O’Farrell was cycling home when he was struck by a car driven by a man who was on bail for offences in both Cavan and Monaghan.

NO GARDA CONDUCT has been found to be illegal or in breach of procedures in relation to the investigation surrounding the death of Shane O’Farrell, according to a GSOC report.

In 2011, 23-year-old O’Farrell was struck by a car driven by Zigimantas Gradzuiska. The Lithuanian national had previous convictions for offences including aggravated burglary, road traffic offences and the handling of stolen property.

Two weeks before the collision, he was arrested in Newry for three counts of theft. The day he struck O’Farrell, Gradzuiska was on bail from courts in both Monaghan and Cavan and on a peace bond from Louth Circuit Court.

For seven years, the O’Farrell family has been asking how Gradzuiska, a repeat offender who was on bail from multiple courts, was at liberty on the day Shane was killed.

Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan has said had the gardaí been informed of the offence in the North he would not have been out in August in 2011.

RTÉ’s Prime Time revealed last night that a constable from the PSNI claims he did speak to the gardaí about Gradzuiska’s criminal record, and a letter was faxed through.

Today, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) published a report into its investigation into matters surrounding the death of O’Farrell.

A total of 56 allegations were investigated in that report, with the majority being found to be unsubstantiated, it states:

Fifty six separate allegations were investigated by GSOC. Having considered the investigators’ report, the commission is satisfied that there was no conduct (on the part of gardaí) that would constitute a criminal offence or offences.

“However, there was conduct that requires further investigation for possible breaches of the Garda Disciplinary Regulations. Thirteen of the 56 allegations are now the subject of disciplinary investigation under section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.”

The family are believed to be unhappy with the report’s findings.

Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness has also criticised the report saying O’Farrell “would be alive if the gardaí had done their job”.

Separate investigations 

The criminal and disciplinary investigations could not be carried out simultaneously as a criminal investigation must be completed before a disciplinary investigation can be carried out.

In this case, the criminal investigation has now been completed and the disciplinary investigation is underway.

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The report stated that, “It was decided by GSOC that all the matters raised would form part of a wider investigation and that this investigation would be designated a criminal investigation (that is, under section 98 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 which is conducted when complaints appear to or may involve offences).”

There are now calls for a public inquiry from Shane’s mother and 20 politicians from parties including Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

However speaking yesterday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pointed out that GSOC is an independent body that reviewed the case.

He also noted that a public inquiry often takes a very long time, and can often not return the outcomes or answers people are seeking.

Varadkar said he is “not ruling out a public inquiry” into the O’Farrell case, but reiterated such an investigation could take “many years”.

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