Patricia Gilheaney was appointed Inspector of Prisons in May 2018. Her interest in the protection of human rights stems from her psychiatric and general nursing background. Her postgraduate education includes an MSc in Health Services Management from Trinity College and an MSc in Executive Leadership from Ulster University. She also studied at the Global Leadership Institute in Boston College. Immediately prior to her current role Patricia served as Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission (MHC) from 2011.
She was appointed the MHC’s first Director of Standards and Quality Assurance in October 2003 and led the development and implementation of the regulatory system for mental health services including the development of the first set of standards for mental health services in Ireland. She also developed rules and codes of practice for the use of restrictive practices and other interventions under the Mental Health Act 2001. Patricia was involved in the establishment and implementation of mental health tribunals in 2006, which provided for the first time in Ireland, an automatic independent review of a person’s detention for the treatment of mental disorder.
Patricia has contributed to the development of a range of national health related policies and was a Ministerial appointee to the following: Expert Group tasked with developing Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020; Expert Group tasked with reviewing the Mental Health Act 2001; National Clinical Effectiveness Committee 2010-2015; National Patient Safety Advisory Group 2011-2016.
She is currently serving a second term as a member of the Board of the Association of Chief Executives of Non-Commercial State Agencies (ACESA). Patricia was appointed an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law in the University of Limerick in May 2020.
Helen Casey, Senior Inspector, a graduate of University of Limerick (MA in Human Rights in Criminal Justice). Helen joined the Inspectorate in November 2015, prior to this she held senior positions in the Irish Prison Service and in the Department of Justice.
Dr. Ciara O’Connell joined the Office of the Inspector of Prisons in December 2020. Prior to this, Ciara was Deputy Principal Investigator and Research Fellow with the PRILA (Prisons: the Rule of Law, Accountability and Rights) project, based out of Trinity College Dublin. In this role, she examined the experience of prison oversight from the perspective of people in prison and prison staff. Ciara’s background also includes research on gender and human rights. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellowship Award at the Centre for Human Rights in South Africa.
Ciara holds a PhD (University of Sussex) and LLM (Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway) in International Human Rights Law, and has expertise in qualitative research methods and data collection in prisons.
Mark joined the team in January 2021. Prior to this Mark worked as an investigator at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission – GSOC. He has also worked for the Revenue Commissioners in areas such as: Customs Intelligence and Profiling unit & the Customs Maritime unit. Mark holds qualifications in areas such as tax, public relations, investigations and most recently in 2020 completed an Advanced Diploma in Corporate, White Collar & Regulatory Crime at the Honourable Society of Kings Inns.
Robert joined the Inspectorate in January 2021, as an Inspector. His academic achievements include an Honours Degree in Financial Services and a Postgraduate in Financial Crime Prevention, amongst other academia. Robert’s career has spanned a total of 8 years in the Public/Civil service, notably in compliance-related roles. He has primarily focused on ensuring compliance with the governing legislation coupled with related investigations and inspections. He has gained significant experience with the Pensions Authority, PayPal and GSOC. He is also a Designate member of the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland.
He has a particular interest in sport, where, in his capacity as a referee, he presides over junior soccer matches.
Michelle joined the Office of the Inspector of Prisons in April 2021. Prior to this, Michelle was Policy and Research Manager with the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT). In this role, she led IPRT’s annual human rights flagship project, Progress in the Penal System (PIPS): A Framework for Penal Reform, and managed a variety of other research projects. Michelle also authored IPRT’s (2012) report, “Picking up the Pieces”: The Rights and Needs of Children and Families affected by Imprisonment.
Previously, Michelle was Research, Policy and Fundraising Assistant in EPIC (Empowering People in Care), working with young people in State Care.
Michelle worked as an Independent Consultant for the Probation Service. She published, Drug and Alcohol Misuse among adult offenders on probation supervision: Findings from the drug and alcohol survey 2011 in the Irish Probation Journal. She was also a field worker for University College Dublin and the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (2014), Study on the prevalence of drug use, including intravenous drug use, and blood borne viruses among the Irish prisoner population.
Michelle holds an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice (University College Dublin), MA in Criminology (Dublin Institute of Technology), and Bachelor of Social Science (NUI Maynooth).
Fiona joined the Office of Inspector of Prisons in November 2020. She is a qualified Solicitor and an accredited Mediator. Fiona was awarded a Masters in Laws(LLM) from Trinity College in 2008. She was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland in 2011.
Fiona trained and worked as an Associate Solicitor in a criminal law practice in Dublin where she gained much experience in regulation, investigation and enforcement along with knowledge of the legislation underpinning the regulation of the prison system in Ireland. She then moved to Australia where she spent 5 years working in regulation for the NSW Insurance Regulator. Her role involved leading a team, investigating decisions and making professional assessments in accordance with prescribed statutes and legislation which were able to withstand legal challenges. Fiona has always worked in an environment where it is imperative to present facts, analysis, finding and decisions clearly and concisely whilst adhering to relevant legislation and universal human rights principles.
Eve joined the team as Inspector in January 2021. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Criminology. Eve has also achieved academic Diplomas in Strategic Business Management and Data Protection Law. She spent five years in the Complaints and Investigations Department of the Ombudsman for Children examining complaints and overseeing governance standards in line with legal and policy based frameworks. Eve’s governance experience includes organisational compliance with GDPR having attained her Advanced Diploma in Data Protection Law with the Honourable Society of Kings Inn’s in 2018.
Eve has 10 years’ experience working with victims of crime in the field of Child Sexual Abuse. She has particular expertise in the area of child victims as witnesses for the State in criminal trials. Eve also has experience working directly with prisoners through the AVP Project. A project that runs workshop’s in conflict resolution and restorative practices with prisoners.
Eve is currently completing her Masters in Management with the Michael Smurfit Business School.
Douglas has a background in business research and data analytics. He previously worked in the higher education sector on externally funded programmes in innovation and enterprise development. He holds a PhD from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.