The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., today announced the appointment of Judge Michael Reilly, Judge of the District Court to the post of Inspector of Prisons as provided for in the Prisons Act, 2007. The appointment will take effect from 1st January, 2008 and will be for a five year period.

Announcing the appointment Minister Lenihan said: "It is important that we have independent oversight of our prison regime. The Oireachtas provided for the statutory office of Inspector of Prisons and in appointing Judge Reilly I am confident that he will carry out his duties in a fair and impartial manner. 

Judge Reilly brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the post from his national and international work. Apart from his distinguished career on the Bench he has served on many prestigious groups from the Tormey Commission on Criminal Legal Aid in the 1970’s, to the Ballycotton Inquiry of 1991, and more recently the National Crime Council.  Judge Reilly has just recently completed an Inquiry for the Government of the Seychelles, having been nominated by the Irish Authorities.  This Inquiry examined events in the Seychelles on the 3rd October, 2006 and related matters.  I am pleased to see that the report has recently been published by the Seychelles Authorities and is testament to the high standing in which Judge Reilly is held." 

The Minister wished Judge Reilly well in his new role and said "I look forward to working with the Inspector and his office over the next five years in a positive and constructive manner."

21 November, 2007

Note for Editors

Office of the Inspector of Prisons
The Office of Inspector of Prisons and the functions of the Office are provided for in Part 5 of the Prisons Act, 2007.  The key role is to carry out regular inspections of prisons.  The appointee may, and shall if asked by the Minister, investigate any matter arising out of the management or operation of a prison and shall submit a report to the Minister on the matter under investigation. The Inspector does not have a function to investigate or adjudicate on complaints from individual prisoners.

The Inspector must submit an Annual Report to the Minister. In normal course both the annual report and the reports on visits to prisons are published.

Curriculum Vitae of Judge Michael Reilly

1975 – 1977: Member of the Tormey Commission which reported to the Minister for Justice on Criminal Legal Aid.

1982:  Appointed Judge of the District Court.

1991:  Presided as Sole Member of the Ballycotton Enquiry – A Judicial Inquiry set up by the Government to investigate the deaths of fishery officers.

1992 to date:  Judge of the Special Criminal Court.

1997 – 1999:  Member of the Expert Group on the Probation and Welfare Service.

1999:  Member of the Nally Committee which reported to the Attorney General on the Public Prosecution system in Ireland.

1999 to date:  Pioneering work in establishing the Nenagh Reparation Project – a restorative justice model to deal with offenders in the community.

1999- 2007: Member of the National Crime Council. Chair of the Criminal Justice System Subgroup of the Council during this period.  This Subgroup oversaw the completion of a number of reports including those dealing with developing a Crime Prevention Strategy for Ireland: Tackling the Concerns of Local Communities; Public Order offending patterns; An examination of time intervals in the Investigation and Prosecution of Murder and Rape Cases in Ireland from 2002 to 2004; and a report looking at the Community Court concept.

2003 – 2006: Member of PROTECT N&S – A Joint initiative to develop co-operation between public bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with particular reference to the management of offenders.

2005 to date:  Member of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation based in Switzerland.

2007:  Nominated by the Irish Authorities to conduct an Inquiry in the Republic of the Seychelles on behalf of the Government of the Seychelles into events in the Seychelles on the 3rd October, 2006 and related matters.  These events related to injuries sustained by the Leader of the Opposition Party, other leading members of that Party and members of the public at the hands of the police.  Judge Reilly’s terms of reference as given by the President of the Seychelles were to "enquire into the facts and circumstances surrounding and leading up to the incidents in Victoria on 3rd October, 2006, including the action taken by the police on that day and respect for law and order shown by persons concerned." The Inquiry also considered the apparent source of grievance which gave rise to the incidents of that day. The report has recently been published and includes findings and recommendations.