Northern Ireland

Stormont meeting for families seeking justice for dead relatives

Delegation that travelled to Stormont Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The delegation of families from the Republic of Ireland met politicians at Stormont

A delegation of families seeking justice for their deceased relatives has been visiting Stormont Castle to meet senior politicians.

The families, who live in the Republic of Ireland, have lost loved ones in violent circumstances.

They believe police in the Republic of Ireland (gardaĆ­) failed to investigate the deaths properly.

The families also said they have been unable to get a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

They were accompanied to Stormont by garda whistleblower John Wilson and journalist Gemma O'Doherty.

Hit-and-run

The families said this was the first phase in a new international awareness-raising campaign about cases of alleged garda wrongdoing that will be taken to the European Parliament and the United Nations in 2015.

The group that visited Stormont included Lucia O'Farrell, mother of Shane who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in County Monaghan in 2011.

A Lithuanian national who had more than 40 convictions, including some in Northern Ireland, received an eight-month jail sentence that was suspended on condition that he left the country.

"We live 10 minutes' drive from the border, and this man came and went across with no consequence or deterrent for him - he came into Ireland six years before as a criminal who was known to Interpol," she told BBC Radio Ulster.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt was among the politicians who met the families

Mrs O'Farrell said he had received numerous suspended sentences in both jurisdictions at the time her son was killed.

"He continued until he killed - the judicial system failed us hugely and this was avoidable," she said.

Anne and Eamonn Tuohey, parents of Shane who died in Clara, County Offaly in 2002, Cyril Goonan, brother of Jim who was killed in Birr, County Offaly in 2002, and Ann Doherty, twin sister of Mary Boyle who went missing at the age of six in Donegal in 1977, also met the politicians.

Also joining the delegation was Limerick-based Catherine Costelloe, a former officer with the London Metropolitan Police who, since returning to Ireland, has spent many years searching for people who have been murdered but whose remains are missing.

The delegation met senior politicians from each of the political parties in Northern Ireland.

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