Europe: Irish families seek justice for dead relatives

Delegation that travelled to Stormont Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The delegation of families from the Republic of Ireland were at Stormont in November

Families from the Republic of Ireland seeking justice for their dead relatives have travelled to Brussels to raise their case in the European Parliament.

The Families for Justice group are people whose loved ones have died in violent or unsolved circumstances.

They believe Irish police failed to investigate the deaths properly.

The group includes Jim and Lucia O'Farrell whose son, Shane, 23, was killed by a hit and run driver.

It happened while he was out cycling in 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.

Image copyright other
Image caption Shane O'Farrell was just 23 years old when he was killed

Mrs O'Farrell said the man 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.

She and her husband said that they felt that their voices were heard by MEPs in Brussels this week.

Now they hope to continue their battle for justice for their dead son.

"We are hoping to go the European Court of Human Rights. Shane had a right to a life, a peaceful death and a fair trial," Mrs O'Farrell said.

"We were met with a great reception. We were encouraged that they will support us.

"Not alone were we heard, we were listened to intently and we were treated with great compassion."

Also in the delegation was Anne Doherty, whose twin sister, Mary Boyle disappeared and was presumed murdered in 1977, when she was six years old.

Cyril Goonan, whose brother Jim was found dead at the bottom of stairs in his home in Birr, County Offaly, in 2002 was also present.

The mother of the late Clodagh Cullen raised the death of her four-year-old daughter, killed in what she believes was an unexplained road traffic collision in Kilkenny in 2007.

Also with the delegation was 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.

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