Families for Justice take their case to Europe

Delegation to Brussels includes parents of man killed by a hit-and-run driver, and parents of four-year-old killed in an unexplained road collision

A group of families whose loved ones have died in violent or unsolved circumstances has travelled to Brussels to raise their cases with MEPs after losing faith in the Irish justice system.

The Families for Justice party is travelling to the European Parliament where it will meet with a group of MEPs, including those from Ireland. It is also scheduled to have talks with the acting director-general for justice at the European Commission, Paraskevi Michou.

The Irish group includes Jim and Lucia O'Farrell whose son Shane (23) was killed in 2011 by a hit-and-run driver in Co Monaghan while he was cycling.

Also in the group is Anne Doherty, the twin sister of Mary Boyle who disappeared and was presumed murdered in Co Donegal in 1977 when aged six.


Cyril Goonan, whose brother Jim Goonan was found dead at the bottom of stairs in his home in Birr, Co Offaly, in 2002, is also in the travelling pary.

The parents of the late Clodagh Cullen are also going to Brussels to raise the death of their daughter (4) in what they believe is an unexplained road traffic collision in Kilkenny in 2007.

Apply more pressure

The group has already taken its cases to politicians in the

Stormont Assembly

in the North.

Ms O'Farrell told The Irish Times she and the other families were determined to apply more pressure on the Government and the Garda. She said the visit was part of a wider international campaign in which all of the cases, and related allegations of Garda malpractice, would be brought to the United Nations.

While the cases were part of an ongoing review process within the Department of Justice, under which 300 incidents alleging Garda malpractice, error or inaction are being probed, Ms O’Farrell said she and the other families had lost confidence in the Irish authorities to deliver justice.

“Our son Shane was killed by a Lithuanian heroin addict who should never have been on the roads. He was on bail and on suspended sentences,” she said. “Our son is gone from us three years and nine months. He was a law graduate and doing a masters in law; he should be out there working himself in Brussels.”

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times