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The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD has announced the appointments of William Connolly, Mr Eddie Rock, Ms Nora McGarry and the re-appointment of Mr Shane McCarthy to the Parole Board. The Minister has also today launched the Annual Report of the Parole Board for 2011.

William Connolly joined the Irish Prison Service, as a Prison Officer in 1974 and served for 38 years being promoted through the ranks to Governor 1 before being appointed as Director of Operations. He also served as Governor in charge of Mountjoy Prison, Wheatfield Prison, Cloverhill Prison and Portlaoise Prison.

Eddie Rock served for over 30 years in An Garda Síochána; working in many areas of An Garda Síochána throughout that period. From 1993 to 1999, he served as a Superintendent at the Garda College and later at the Garda National Drug Squad. In 1999, Eddie was promoted to Chief Superintendent and from 1999 to 2005 he served at a number of locations throughout Dublin, including at the “B Branch” (Garda Headquarters), Crumlin and Store Street. In 2005 he was appointed Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Garda Traffic Corps.

Shane McCarthy qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and established his own firm a year later. He was appointed to the Parole Board in 2009 and has also served on the Garda Síochána Complaints Board since 2002. He has sat on and chaired Tribunals under the aegis of the Complaints Board. Mr McCarthy also lectured in Cork Institute of Technology on a part time basis for three years on various accounting and business courses.

Nora McGarry served as a Staff Nurse with the Eastern Health Board, Child Psychiatric Services from 1985 until 2001. She is currently employed in a part time capacity as a Student Counsellor at St. Colmcille’s Community School, Knocklyon and operates a private practice, Imagine Counselling Services, providing psychotherapy and counselling. Nora was appointed to the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board in 2011.

The Parole Board’s principal function is to advise the Minister on the administration of long term prison sentences in respect of prisoners who are serving sentences greater than eight years. The Board, by way of recommendation to the Minister, advises of the prisoner’s progress to date, the degree to which the prisoner has engaged with the various therapeutic services and how best to proceed with the future administration of the sentence.  The Annual Report 2011 found that the total caseload of the Board in 2011 was 205, a combination of new cases and cases at second or subsequent review stage.  The Board reviewed the cases of 89 prisoners in 2011, with recommendations made to the Minister in respect of 88 cases reviewed. One recommendation was deferred until 2012.  The majority of those recommendations (85) were accepted in full by the Minister.

Commenting on the proposed plan to enact legislation to place the Parole Board on a statutory footing, the Minister said the Department of Justice and Equality is “considering exactly what role a statutory Parole Board should play, what powers it should have, and the implications of same with a view to preparing the Heads of a Bill”. He said he will make a further announcement on this matter in due course.