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Driver 'should have been in prison' when he killed young cyclist...

The leader of the Republican party in Ireland has written to the taoiseach saying there must be an investigation into the death of a young cyclist in a hit and run by a driver who had 49 previous convictions.

Micheál Martin, the Fianna Fail leader, says the death of Shane O’Farrell, 23, in 2011, could have been avoided had police kept a closer eye on the repeat offender.

Zigimantas Gridzuiska was “well known to gardai” at the time of the incident.

He had 12 previous convictions in Northern Ireland, 17 in his native Lithuania and 20 in the Republic of Ireland for theft, drug possession, malicious damage, handling stolen property and nine traffic offences.

The killer driver was on temporary release from jail, having breached bail 18 times.

“The coverage of the tribunal of inquiry into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s case has highlighted the need for the Shane O’Farrell case to be independently assessed,” said Martin, according to the Sunday Times.

“If justice had been done, Mr Gridzuiska would have been in prison rather than out driving.”

Lucia O’Farrell, Shane’s mother, has joined the calls for a public inquiry.

Enda Kenny said after he met her: “I informed the O’Farrell family today that I am asking the attorney-general to request the Law Reform Commission president to examine how we can reform the law to provide enhanced public understanding for significant decisions made, while fully preserving the independence of the director of public prosecutions.

“This has been done in other countries.”

Back in 2014 we reported how two women whose partners were killed by a drunk driver with dozens of previous convictions launched an online petition to increase the sentencing in dangerous driving cases.

Seven children were left fatherless when John Morland and Kris Jarvis died after being hit by a BMW driven by Alexander Walters.

Walters, who had over twice the blood alcohol limit and had used cocaine within the last 24 hours when he hit and killed the cyclists, was sentenced to 10 years and three months for dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking, after pleading guilty to a total of seven offences at Reading Crown Court.

The court heard he had 67 previous convictions.

“They classed John and Kris as one person – he (Walters) got ten years three months for (both) the deaths of Kris and John,” Tracey Fidler said.

“We want the sentence to be applicable to both men – which would double the sentence to 20 years and six months,” she said.

“The guy that did it only got a little sentence – and we got a life sentence.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.