The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today, 26th July, announced the appointment of Mr John Costello as Chairperson of the Parole Board. Mr Costello will replace the late Mr Gordon Holmes who passed away last January.

The Minister also announced the appointment of Ms Ciairín de Buis as a member of the Board.

In making the announcement, Minister Shatter said that they both bring a wealth of experience and understanding to what is a challenging role.

The Minister also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the Board’s late chairman, Mr Gordon Holmes RIP. Mr Holmes devoted much time and dedication to the Board and left a solid foundation on which to build for the future. The Minister said that he left behind a proud record of public service for which he was held in high esteem by so many people. His dedication and commitment to public service was indeed exemplary.

With regard to strengthening the Parole Board and improving its functions, the Minister stated, "The Parole Board currently operates as a non-statutory agency. It is my intention to enact legislation to place the Board on a statutory footing. It may not be possible to introduce the relevant legislation this year but it is my hope to do so next year."

"At present, the Board’s remit involves considering granting parole to those who are sentenced for serious offences where the sentence is for a period of seven years or more. I am examining the possibility of allowing the Board to consider granting parole to those who are sentenced to terms of five years or more, with the possibility of its requiring those granted parole to undertake community service for a period following their release".

26 July 2011



Note for Editors

The Parole Board is an independent non-statutory body established by the Government to advise the Minister for Justice and Equality on the management of those serving long term prison sentences. It was established on an administrative basis in April, 2001 replacing the then Sentence Review Group.


Mr John Costello

John Costello is a Consultant in the Private Client Department of Beauchamps Solicitors and has over twenty five years experience in Wills, Administration of Estates, Trusts, Tax Planning, Wards of Court, Powers of Attorney and other legal issues affecting the older person.

John is currently President of the Law Society of Ireland. He is a former Chairman of the Law Society Committees on Probate and Taxation and Law Reform. John is a former Committee Member of the Law Society Committee on Mental Health and Disability and of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities. He is author of a best-selling textbook entitled, "Law and Finance in Retirement" published in March 2000. The second edition of this book was published in September 2002.

John is a member of STEP (The Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners) and has lectured to members of STEP and to practitioners on Wills and Probate matters.

John also chaired a Law Society Law Reform Group which produced a major work on charity law in July 2002. This report recommended a radical overhaul of charity legislation. Many of its recommendations were incorporated in the Charities Act 2009.

John is a director of St. Michael's House. He also provides legal advice on a pro bono basis to a number of other charities including the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland and charities relating to people with disabilities.

John was also involved in youth work for many years. He was a Youth Club Leader for a number of years and on the Board of Catholic Youth Care for about five years.

Ms Ciairín de Buis

Ciairín de Buis currently is the Director of Start Strong, an organisation which campaigns for children's early care and education.

She previously developed and managed services for adults with disabilities with RehabCare.

She has also completed research on the Social Welfare Appeals system, and has worked with a range of organisations including the Citizens Information Service, Northside Community Law Centre and the National Youth Council of Ireland.

As well as a Law Degree (BCL), Ciairín has a Masters in Criminology (MA), and more recently completed a Masters in Political Science (MSc).