Thursday, 31 May 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
143. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the plans he has regarding the current sentence review group; the people who have been removed from this board; their names and addresses by county and qualifications; when they were appointed; the persons who have replaced them on this or a format of the SRG; their names, addresses by county and their qualifications; when they were appointed; and the duration of their appointment. [16397/01]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): The Sentence Review Group, which was set up initially in 1989, is expected to conclude its work within the next couple of months. The Deputy will be aware that I announced the membership of the parole board last month. It is hoped that the board will be operational in the autumn. In the meantime, premises for the parole board have been provided and are being fitted out, staff are in the process of being provided and I also intend to provide training for members of the board. The board, when operational, will replace the Sentence Review Group. I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my deep appreciation of the dedicated service and invaluable contribution made by all of the members of the Sentence Review Group in advising me and my predecessors on the administration of long-term prison sentences over a 12 year period.
The outgoing members of the Sentence Review Group are Ms Alice Leahy, Chairperson appointed in March 1996 and founder and director of TRUST, an organisation that works with homeless people; Ms Gisela Whyte, appointed in December 1989 and Secretary of PACE (Prisoners Aid through Community Effort); Mr. Frank Crummey, appointed in March 1996 and is a retired member of An Garda Síochána; Mr. Martin Tansey, appointed an ex officio member of the group in December 1989 and principal probation and welfare officer, probation and welfare service; Dr. Charles Smith, appointed an ex officio member of the group in December 1989 and Medical Director of the Central Mental Hospital; and Mr. John Kenny, appointed an ex officio member of the group in November 1999 and principal officer in the prisons operations division of the Irish Prison Service. All of the current members of the Sentence Review Group reside in Dublin.
The members of the new parole board were appointed on 4 April 2001. The parole board is being established on an administrative basis initially pending statutory provision in due course. Appointments have, therefore, also been made on an interim basis pending the enactment of the necessary legislation. The members of the parole board are as follows: Mr. Gordon Holmes, Chairperson, who lives in Limerick and is a senior partner in Holmes O'Malley, Solicitors, Limerick. He is a former State Solicitor for Limerick; Ms Lillian McGovern who lives in Dublin and is the chief executive of Victim Support; Ms Daisy O'Reilly who lives in Roscommon and is a member of the board of management of Harristown House, Castlerea, County Roscommon, an alcohol treatment centre for persons referred to it by the courts; Mr. Tim O'Donoghue who lives in Kerry and is the project manager of the Kerry Diocesan youth service project; and Mr. Frank McCarthy who lives in Cork and is the Governor of Cork Prison. The ex-officio members include Dr. Charles Smith, medical director of the Central Mental Hospital, Mr. Martin Tansey, princi pal probation and welfare officer, probation and welfare service, Mr. John Kenny, principal officer in the prisons operations division of the Irish Prisons Service and Ms Anne O'Gorman, principal officer in the prisons and probation and welfare policy division of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. All of these people live in Dublin.
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