THE heartbroken mum of road victim Shane O’Farrell has begged the Government not to let the serial offender responsible for his death back into the country.
Lucia O’Farrell, her husband Jim and their four daughters were left devastated when the 23-year-old law graduate died after being dragged for 60 metres when he was hit by a car driven by Lithuanian national Zigimantas Gridziuska in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, in August, 2011.
Gridziuska had 42 previous convictions and was on bail for numerous offences when Shane was killed.
He walked free from Monaghan District Court in January, 2011 with the judge insisting that he be brought straight back before him if he got into trouble again.
Between then and Shane’s death eight months later he committed as many as 11 offences. The family have always insisted that he should have been behind bars on the night of the fateful accident.
In February 2013 a judge directed a jury to acquit him of causing Shane’s death by dangerous driving but he pleaded guilty to failing to stop his car at the scene of the crash, failing to keep the car near the scene and failing to report the incident to gardai.
He received a suspended sentence of eight months on condition he leave Ireland and return to his native Lithuania and not return for 10 years.
That period expired this year and the family are now pleading that he never be allowed be back into Ireland.
Lucia told The Irish Sun: “I don’t want to have to worry about bumping into him if I go into town to do some shopping.
“My daughters live in Dublin and my husband has being doing work in one of their houses and he doesn’t want to meet him if he’s getting the bus up and down.
“This man destroyed our lives and what makes it worse is that he should have been in jail when Shane died.”
Lucia has fought a long-running battle for a public inquiry in to Shane’s death, citing consistent failures by the Gardai, the Courts Service and the Judiciary in their handling of Gridziuska before he drove the car which killed Shane.
Judge Gerard Haughton published a scoping report in July in which he ruled out a public inquiry, focusing more on Shane’s behaviour on the night and not Gridziuska’s driving.
He described as “trivial” speeding offences that the accused had committed and saw these as no reason for his bail to be revoked prior to the crash.
Seanad deputy leader Regina Doherty, who is supporting the family’s campaign to ensure Gridziuska does not return, told The Irish Sun: “Shane’s family should never fear having to encounter this man as they walk down the street. He showed no remorse for his actions.
“He has caused enormous pain to Shane’s family. They should at least be given the small comfort of knowing that he can never return to Ireland.”
The Department of Justice have told the O’Farrell family that the Gardai are liaising with the relevant authorities in relation to the matter.