Mark Kelly is an international human rights lawyer who has extensive international experience as well as operational experience in the areas of monitoring prisons, police custody and administrative detention.
In 2014, he was elected to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe, of which he was Vice-President from 2017-2021
Prior to this in 2013, he was appointed as a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and a member of the Board of the Equality Authority, pending the creation of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, to which the President of Ireland appointed him as a Commissioner on 31 October 2014.
Mr Kelly was also a member of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe’s Secretariat from 1991 – 2000 and is a former Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
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.
Following 30 years in policing, including leading London’s Human Trafficking Unit, in 2014 Kevin Hyland OBE was appointed the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
He authored and led inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 to eradicate human trafficking within the United Nations 15-year strategic priorities.
In 2018 Mr Hyland was elected Ireland’s representative to the Council of Europe Independent Group of Experts for Trafficking. He was instrumental in establishing and remains chief advisor to the Santa Marta Group, a high-level partnership between law enforcement agencies, faith groups and civil society launched by Pope Francis at the Vatican. He was the instigator for Bakhita House, a London based residential project for women and children who have experienced human trafficking and is on the board of homeless charity The Passage, exploited women’s support charity Rahab and Sophie Hayes Foundation who provide employability training for trafficked women.
In recognition of his policing and human trafficking efforts in 2015 he was appointed OBE. In 2018 he was co-recipient of the ‘Path to peace Award’ in New York. In 2019 he was awarded the UN Women UK ‘HeForShe’ Leadership Award and in 2020 the UN Women for Peace Association Advocacy Award.
He chairs the Leadership Group of the Institute of Human Rights and Business and the Island of Ireland Human Trafficking Project and provided strategic leadership to the OSCE victim support guidance.
He is a visiting professor to St. Mary’s University, London. He has advised legislators in several countries in drafting new laws and provided training and lectured on human rights and policing in Europe, Australia, Central Asia, SE Asia, the USA, Pakistan, India, across the Middle East and South America.