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, specifically in Ireland, Scotland and Norway.
Ciara’s background also includes research on gender and human rights, with a particular focus on gendered harm in the African and Inter-American regional human rights contexts. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellowship Award at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Previously, Ciara held positions and carried out consultancy work with the Centre for Human Rights (South Africa), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (USA).
Ciara holds a PhD in Law (University of Sussex, UK) and LLM in International Human Rights Law (Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway). She has expertise in qualitative research methods and analysis, 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.