Minister Announces Appointment Of New Chief Executive Officer of the Parole Board.

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, T.D. has today announced the appointment of Ms. Ciairín de Buis as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Parole Board, following an open competition run by the Public Appointments Service.

Ms. de Buis has worked in the NGO and not-for-profit sector for over 25 years. She has led in areas such as gender equality, children’s rights and services for people with disabilities. Currently providing strategic advice to organisations such as Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, she previously led organisations such as Women for Election and Start Strong, as well as leading Extern on an interim basis in 2020.

She has been awarded the Praeses Elit award for her work towards achieving gender equality, and is currently the vice-chair of the Children’s Rights Alliance. She was previously a board member of Sonas (Freedom from Domestic Violence), as well as having served 2 terms as a member of the advisory Parole Board. Ms. de Buis has previously been a member of the National Children’s Advisory Council, and the Expert Advisory Group on Early Years.

A Kerrywoman, Ms. de Buis has a law degree, a Masters in Criminology as well as a Masters in Political Science.

Revealing the new appointment, the Minister said,

“The establishment of the Parole Board on a statutory footing is a priority action under my Justice Plan 2021 and is a key commitment in the Programme for Government. It represents an important step forward in recognising the rights of victims in the cases heard and ensures independent decision making for applicants.

I am delighted to announce Ciairín de Buis as the first Chief Executive Officer of the newly established statutory Parole Board.

As I have said before, transparency and accountability are vital in achieving fairness for victims of crime and rehabilitation for prisoners. In this context the Parole Board plays a vital role in the justice system.
I am pleased to say that Ms. de Buis is an extremely well qualified and high calibre candidate who will be able to bring a huge amount of professional experience to her new role.”

Speaking about her new role as Chief Executive Officer of the statutory Parole Board, Ms Ciairín de Buis said,

“I am very much looking forward to leading the work of the independent Parole Board. Working with my colleagues – board members and staff – I look forward to further developing the work of the Parole Board and delivering a parole system that is fair to prisoners and listens to victims”.

Welcoming the new CEO, Chair of the Parole Board Mr Justice Michael White, said,

“I very much welcome the appointment of Ciairín de Buis as the new CEO of the Board. I look forward to working with her closely in the years ahead, as we proceed to give effect to the principles set out in the Act. I would also like to thank the interim CEO Brendan Eiffe for the significant work undertaken since establishment of the new Board on 1st of August last.”

The Parole Board, established under the Parole Act 2019, on July 31st2021 , is an independent statutory body entirely separate from its predecessor and will make its decisions about parole independently from the Minister for Justice.

The statutory Parole Board considers the eligibility for parole of prisoners serving life sentences once the prisoners concerned have served at least 12 years of their sentence. In addition, for the first time, victims of the crimes of a given parole applicant have a formal right to make submissions to the Parole Board in relation to an application for parole and victims can avail of legal representation to assist with this.

Recognising the progress of the Parole Board to date the Minister said,

“A significant amount of work has already been undertaken since the Parole Board was established earlier this year and it is only right that this work is acknowledged and those involved thanked for ensuring that this important aspect of the Criminal Justice system is available to victims and parole applicants as soon as possible.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the interim Chief Executive Officer Brendan Eiffe, the Chair of the Parole Board, Hon. Mr Justice Michael White, the Parole Board members and the staff of the Parole Board for all their hard work over the last number of months”.

The parole process provided for by the 2019 Act consists of a number of steps that must be complied with before a review of a given case can occur. Information on the process has been provided to applicants and is widely available throughout the prisons estate generally.

Under the Act both victims and parole applicants may have access to legal representation. In this regard the Parole Board is in the process of establishing a Legal Aid Scheme and the Board recently advertised for suitably qualified solicitors and barristers to become members of a legal aid panel. Subsequently a panel of legal professionals has been set up to provide legal assistance where the relevant parties express a desire for this.

The Parole Board website is also now live and can be accessed HERE

In addition, a considerable amount of preparatory work has been undertaken by the Board relating to the new processes, applications and corporate governance and the Minister is advised that the Board will begin making decisions on applications in early 2022.

Budget 2022 provided an additional €0.4m to the Parole Board resulting in a total allocation of €1.74m to support the Parole Board’s important work.


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