First female Prison Service director general appointed

Caron McCaffrey has been working in the prison service for 18 years

Caron McCaffrey: previously worked for the Department of Justice in the press office and the Asylum Policy Division before taking up the role of Press and Programmes Manager in the IPS in 2006.

Caron McCaffrey: previously worked for the Department of Justice in the press office and the Asylum Policy Division before taking up the role of Press and Programmes Manager in the IPS in 2006.

 

Caron McCaffrey, a career official, has been appointed Director General of the Irish Prison Service (IPS). She is the first woman to hold the post.

Ms McCaffrey takes over from Michael Donnellan, who retired last month after six years in the role.

She previously worked for the Department of Justice in the press office and the Asylum Policy Division before taking up the role of Press and Programmes Manager in the IPS in 2006.

She was promoted to Director of Corporate Services in 2008 before occupying a variety of roles, including in human resources and finance and estates.

As IPS Director General she will be responsible for 3,200 staff, 12 prisons, roughly 4,000 prisoners and a budget of €340 million.

Ms McCaffrey will face several challenges as soon as she assumes the role, including a prison population which is starting to rise after several years in decline.

Overcrowding

Despite a massive modernisation programme started by her predecessor, overcrowding is beginning to become commonplace in some prisons.

She will also inherit a brewing controversy involving a prison whistleblower, who claims that covert surveillance and conversations between prisoners and solicitors in the State’s prisons.

“There are many challenges we face, now and into the future, but I am confident that we will continue to meet those challenges and grow together as an organisation based on excellence through our people,” Ms McCaffrey said on Wednesday.

“Caron has vast experience in the IPS working in a variety of leadership roles over the past 12 years. I look forward to working with her as the new Director General and wish her well in this demanding role,” Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said.

“Her leadership will be essential in building on the significant advances made in recent years, and in continuing to embed and drive further improvements in how we provide safe, secure, humane and rehabilitative custody for people sent to prison in line with international human rights standards.”