• ECHO OF TRAGIC ROAD FATALITY AS… CARRICK FAMILY CONTINUES TO FOCUS ON ‘FAILURES’ OF STATE

29 October 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By PATSY McARDLE

WHAT has been termed as a “blatant failure” of the authorities in relation to lack of action in respect of a non-Irish national driver, who was linked to a series of offences, including driving and drug-related charges, spurred a Carrickmacross family to bring their international campaign to the attention of the British government this week.

Mrs Lucia O’Farrell, whose son Shane, a popular law student, from Carrickmacross, was the victim of the hit-and-run driver in 2011, arranged for a visit to Westminister on Tuesday last to highlight the failure of the authorities in undertaking adequate cross-border anti-criminal co-operation in relation to the activities of the driver involved in the young South Monaghan man’s tragic death.

It emerged during the week that Baroness Harris of Richmond indicated she would sponsor a debate on the issues raised by the case in the House of Lords, while MPs also undertook to raise the matter in the House of Commons.

Garda ‘whistleblower’ John Wilson agreed to accompany the concerned family members to the UK parliament on Tuesday.

The Carrickmacross case was the subject of a Garda Siochana Ombudsman Service (GSOC) investigation, and the family has already brought their concerns to the European Parliament, through a visit arranged some months ago by local Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy.

Indeed, the family, which is hugely respected in the area, is leaving no stone unturned to have all issues relating to Mr. O’Farrell’s death fully investigated, exposed, and clarified.

Mrs O’Farrell has asserted their son sadly lost his life because of the failure of the authorities to take   the necessary effective measures in preventing a convicted driver from being at large.

The family has already had frank discussions in relation to the case with senior politicians on both sides of the border, including the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the North’s Minister for Justice, David Ford.

Mrs O’Farrell believes that if adequate cross-border security measures had been properly observed in the Republic, and in the North, in relation to the convicted driver involved in her son’s death,   her son would still be alive today.

It emerged that although previously convicted, and given a custodial sentence in the North—as well as also having a conviction in the Republic—the foreign national involved in the death of Mr. O’Farrell was allowed to remain at large, and allowed to proceed, when observed at security checkpoints.

It is now hoped that full exposure of all the circumstances of the tragic death of Mr. O’Farrell, will ultimately bring some closure for the irreparable loss felt by this grieving family over the past four years.

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