NGO and not-for-profit veteran Ciairín de Buis is the new chief executive of the Parole Board which has now been placed on a statutory footing.
She was named following an open competition run by the Public Appointments Service.
Justice minister Helen McEntee 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.”
She added that transparency and accountability are vital in achieving fairness for victims of crime and rehabilitation for prisoners and the Parole Board plays a vital role in the justice system.
The Parole Board, established under the Parole Act 2019 on 31 July this year, 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.
Under the act both victims and parole applicants may have access to legal representation.
The Parole Board is in the process of establishing a Legal Aid Scheme and has advertised for suitably-qualified solicitors and barristers.
A panel of legal professionals will provide legal assistance where the relevant parties express a desire for this.
Budget 2022 provided an additional €0.4 million to the Parole Board resulting in a total allocation of €1.74 million.
The Parole Board website is also now live.