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Conference on shake-up in national security oversight
Professor Donncha O'Connell Pic: RollingNews.ie

12 Sep 2022 / education Print

Conference on shake-up in national security oversight

A conference on oversight of national security in Ireland will be hosted by University of Galway’s School of Law on Friday, 23 September. 

The event coincides with the publication of legislation to establish the office of Independent Examiner of National Security in Ireland, a recommendation made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in 2018.

Justice minister Helen McEntee will open the conference, which will hear about experiences of national security oversight elsewhere.

Organiser, Professor Donncha O’Connell of Galway’s School of Law, said: “For the first time since the foundation of the State, Ireland will have an independent office to oversee all actors, including the gardaí, Defence Forces and others involved in national security.

‘Welcome development’

“It is a welcome development, and there are reasons to be optimistic about the establishment of this oversight mechanism,” he said.

The half-day afternoon conference will hear from experts with experience of such mechanisms in other jurisdictions.

It will offer Government officials, politicians, security services and other experts the opportunity to learn from experience elsewhere, with a view to optimising the potential of the office of independent examiner here, Prof O’Connell said.

The conference, titled: ‘Oversight of National Security in Ireland: Lessons from Australia and the United Kingdom’, is being held in the Moot Court Room, Cairnes Building, University of Galway.  

Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers include Grant Donaldson SC (Independent National Security Legislation Monitor for Australia) and Lord David Anderson KC (House of Lords cross-bench peer and a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for Britain).

The expert panel includes:

  • Dr Jessie Blackbourn (Durham University),
  • Dermot Woods (National Security Analysis Centre in the Department of An Taoiseach),
  • Professor Marie Breen-Smyth (Independent Reviewer for Justice and Security for Northern Ireland), and
  • Michael O’Neill (Head of Legal at Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission).

The conference will also be livestreamed for remote participation.

Registration is now open.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland