The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) has recommended disciplinary action be taken against three gardaí following an investigation into the death of cyclist Shane O’Farrell, the Minister for Justice has told the Seanad.
Charlie Flanagan said he was informed at the end of January that the Gsoc disciplinary investigation had been completed, and that a report had been sent to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris recommending "certain actions".
Mr O’Farrell (23) was killed in a hit-and-run incident in August 2011 while near his home in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.
The driver of the car, Lithuanian Zigimantas Gridziuska, had 42 previous convictions for offences including road traffic offences, drugs and theft and was on bail at the time of the incident. He was later convicted of leaving the crash scene and given a suspended sentence.
Mr Flanagan told the Seanad he had not received a copy of the report. “I have been informed that Gsoc has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against three members of An Garda Síochána”.
The Minister said the Commissioner was “examining the report in detail, and I would note that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, this is a matter entirely for the Garda Commissioner alone to decide on the matter”.
Mr Flanagan said “the actions of the gardaí fell short of what should have happened where a person is on bail or remand and is subsequently arrested for other offences”.
He was speaking during a private member's motion, introduced by Independent Senator David Norris, calling for a public inquiry into Mr O'Farrell's death. Mr O'Farrell's family have been seeking such an inquiry.
The Minister for Justice appointed a former District Court Judge to conduct a scoping exercise to determine what further inquiries if any should be conducted. But Mr O’Farrell’s family have criticised the Government’s decision not to immediately direct a public inquiry after the Dáil passed a resolution last year supporting such an inquiry into the case.*
Mr Flanagan said Mr O’Farrell “was obviously a much loved son and brother. His death has clearly been devastating for his family to whom, once again, I extend my condolences.”
*This artilce was amended on February 14th to clarify that the family were critical of the Government’s decision not to immediately direct that a public inquiry be held.