Shane's death requires a public inquiry

Open letter to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Justice and Equality:

On June 14, 2018, a majority of Dáil members voted in favour of a motion calling for a public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell. This was followed by a unanimous vote to the same effect, in the Seanad, on February 13, 2019.

Support for this motion demonstrates that a majority of the Dáil and Seanad are not satisfied with the investigations to establish the full facts surrounding the failure of the criminal justice process to prevent the death of Shane O’Farrell. That the investigations have not addressed these multiple failures is a matter of great public interest, not least to Shane’s family.

We, the undersigned, now express our dissatisfaction with the scoping enquiry established by the Minister for Justice on February 2.

As was identified by Michael Clifford in the Irish Examiner in February 2019, many inquiries have been established on the request of the minister without the prior requirement of a scoping enquiry.

Furthermore, the terms of reference of this enquiry are limited, which suggests that each failing is to be treated as a separate event, rather than the entire chain of events (including the litany of failures across numerous state agencies) being examined afresh.

We, the undersigned, call on you to act on the will of the Oireachtas and immediately establish a public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell. It is the only way the full facts can be examined.

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire,

Sinn Féin spokesman on Justice and Equality.

The letter has also been signed by Jim and Lucia O’Farrell (parents), and Gemma, Pia, Aimee and Hannah O’Farrell (sisters); 47 TDs, 16 senators, six MEPs, Donna Price, founder and chairperson, Irish Road Victims’ Association; Mick McKillen, former chairperson, (2009 – 2016); Liam Herrick, executive director, Irish Council of Civil Liberties; and John Devitt, CEO Transparency International Ireland.

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