5 February 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced the appointment of District Court Judge, Gerard Haughton, to conduct a scoping exercise into certain matters surrounding the circumstances leading to the tragic death of Shane O’Farrell in a road traffic incident in 2011.
Minister Flanagan and his predecessors have consistently reiterated the Government’s commitment to consider what further steps could be taken with regard to this case once GSOC’s investigations into the matter were completed. The Minister has now been informed by GSOC that their disciplinary investigation is complete and that they have provided a copy of the report to the Garda Commissioner for follow up and written to the O’Farrell family with regard to their findings.
With GSOC’s investigations now complete, and following consultation with the Attorney General, the Minister this morning informed the Government that he is appointing Judge Gerard Haughton to carry out a scoping exercise.
Minister Flanagan met with the O’Farrell family this afternoon to inform her of his decision. He also took the opportunity to once again express his sincere condolences to Mrs O’Farrell for the tragic loss of her son.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Flanagan said: “The death of Shane O’Farrell has had a devastating effect on his family who have for some time raised concerns about the circumstances leading to his death. Having been informed by GSOC that its investigation is now completed, I met with the O’Farrell family this afternoon to inform them that I have requested Judge Gerard Haughton to conduct a scoping exercise. I have assured Mrs O’Farrell that Judge Haughton will meet with her and her family in early course and that he is entirely free to recommend any course of action to me which he considers appropriate.”
Judge Haughton will make an interim report to the Minister within 8 weeks of his appointment, as part of which he will indicate the expected timeframe for completion of the scoping exercise.
Notes for Editors:
Terms of Reference
Scoping exercise in relation to the death of Shane O’Farrell
In light of the public controversy surrounding the circumstances of the death of Mr Shane O’Farrell on 2 August 2011, and having regard to the motion passed by Dáil Éireann on 14 June 2018, calling for the establishment of a public inquiry in the matter:
1. To review the investigations that have already taken place into the circumstances of the death of Mr O’Farrell, namely the criminal prosecution of Mr Zigimantas Gridziuska; the review by the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM); the criminal investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC); and the subsequent disciplinary investigation by GSOC;
2. To review changes that have been made to the law and practice in relation to the administration of bail and bench warrants and the extent to which they have or have not addressed gaps in those systems since the death of Mr O'Farrell;
3. Based on the reviews at 1. and 2. above to advise the Minister for Justice and Equality:
- If there are any remaining unanswered questions in relation to the circumstances of Mr O’Farrell’s death that should be the subject of further inquiry or investigation; and
- If there are, the most appropriate manner in which they should be investigated, having regard to the statutory independence of bodies such as the courts, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
4. If an investigation or inquiry is recommended to draft terms of reference for said investigation/inquiry;
5. To make enquiries with persons or bodies that he/she considers appropriate in relation to the review;
6. To report to the Minister for Justice and Equality within 8 weeks of commencement with an interim report indicating, inter alia, the expected timeframe for completion of the scoping exercise.
Biography of Judge Gerard Haughton
Judge Gerard Haughton was admitted to the Role of Solicitors in 1971. He was appointed to the District Court on 30 April 1991 and assigned to District 23 (Wexford) on 13 December 2011. He is due to retire on 7 February 2019.