Justice Minister and international experts take part in conference on oversight of Ireland’s national security

From left, Lord David Anderson, KC, Helen McEntee, TD, Minister for Justice and Grant Donaldson, SC
Sep 12 2022 Posted: 11:25 IST

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D. and a number of leading international experts are to address a conference on oversight of national security in Ireland hosted by University of Galway’s School of Law.

The conference takes place on Friday September 23, 2022. 

The event is being organised to coincide with the publication of new legislation to establish an office of Independent Examiner of National Security in Ireland. This significant policy development follows a recommendation made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in 2018.

Minister McEntee will open the conference, while two keynote speakers will advise on experiences of national security oversight in the UK and Australia

Professor Donncha O’Connell of University of Galway School of Law, is organising the conference and was a member of the Commission.

Speaking ahead of the conference, he 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. It is a welcome development and there are reasons to be optimistic about the establishment of this oversight mechanism. 

“Our conference will provide an opportunity to hear from experts with experience of such mechanisms in other jurisdictions so that those dealing with the Irish legislation - government officials, politicians, security services and other experts - can learn from what works and does not work elsewhere with a view to optimising the potential of the office of Independent Examiner in Ireland.”

The half-day conference, entitled 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. 

Two keynote speakers will take part - Grant Donaldson, SC, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor for Australia; and Lord David Anderson, KC, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the UK. Both will outline how national security oversight works in their respective jurisdictions, drawing on their direct experience as office-holders, current and past, with responsibility for such oversight. 

An expert panel will discuss the issues raised in the keynotes, including Dr Jessie Blackbourn of Durham University; Dermot Woods of the National Security Analysis Centre in the Department of An Taoiseach; Professor Marie Breen-Smyth, the Independent Reviewer for Justice and Security for Northern Ireland; and Michael O’Neill, Head of Legal at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The conference will also be livestreamed on Zoom so that people can participate remotely. 

To register to attend the conference visit https://bit.ly/3d90dAC.


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