The Authority

The Authority members are appointed by the Government following selection processes run by the Public Appointments Service.

The legislation which established the Authority provides for the Authority to have a total of nine members – a Chairperson and eight ordinary members. The composition of the Authority is in line with the statutory objective of there being at least 4 men and at least 4 women on the Authority.

The Act requires that Authority members should have appropriate experience, qualifications, training or expertise and knowledge in areas connected with:

  • Policing matters
  • Human rights and equality matters
  • Public sector administration
  • Board management and corporate governance
  • Work undertaken by voluntary groups with local communities, in particular work to promote safety in the community, prevent crime or promote awareness of other issues that are relevant to policing services.

Members of either House of the Oireachtas, MEPs, members of Local Authorities, serving members or staff of the Garda Síochána, and members of GSOC or the Garda Inspectorate are not eligible to be members of the Authority.

The Authority is supported by the Executive which consists of a core team of staff headed up by Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Helen Hall.

Authority Members

Dr Elaine A. Byrne BL.

Dr Elaine A. Byrne BL.

Dr Elaine Byrne is a practising barrister on the South Eastern and Dublin Circuits with a specialisation in Regulatory Law and Employment Law.

Dr Byrne has served as a member of the Authority since March 2021 and was appointed as Chairperson from 1 January 2024.

She has acted as a consultant on governance matters for the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. Her book, “Political Corruption in Ireland 1922-2010: A Crooked Harp,” was published in 2012. She has served as a member of the Hamilton Review Group on Economic Crime and Corruption, and the Seanad Working Group on Reform. 

Dr Donal de Buitleir

Dr Donal de Buitleir

Dr Donal de Buitleir is Chairman of the Professional Standards Board of Chartered Accountants Ireland. He spent the early part of his career in the civil service ending up as Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. He worked for 20 years in the private sector (AIB Group). Since leaving the civil service he has chaired or been a member of Government Review bodies in the areas of local government, health, education and taxation and welfare policy. He was Chairman of the Low Pay Commission and a Board member of the Health Services Executive 2005-09. He is an Eisenhower Fellow.

Dr Deborah Donnelly

Dr Deborah Donnelly

Dr Deborah Donnelly has had a long career in the public service in Northern Ireland working mainly in the areas of policing and criminal justice. Since 2012 she has worked independently specialising in governance and equality matters. She has worked with DFAT and internationally on issues relating to Women, Peace and Security.  She is a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, she chairs Ark Housing Association and holds a number of voluntary roles.

Anthony Harbinson

Anthony Harbinson

Anthony Harbinson retired as Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs after twenty one years in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. During that time he worked mainly in the Department of Justice at various times having responsibility for delivering the Departments policy and legislation programme, improving performance of the criminal justice system, running the NI Courts and Tribunal Service and ensuring the development and implementation of the the framework for policing and community safety.   He also spent nine of those years working in Whitehall for the Northern Ireland Office where he was responsible for designing and implementing the NI Public Prosecution Service and later he served as the Departments Director of Resources.  Prior to joining the Civil Service he spent fifteen years working in the NI Health Service in various Director roles in Secondary Care and Primary Care and  he started his career in the NI Electricity Service. 

Paul Mageean

Paul Mageean

Paul Mageean is a qualified solicitor from Belfast. He spent some time in private practice and also spent almost ten years working as the Legal Officer with the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the leading human rights organisation in Northern Ireland. More recently, he worked for Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland and was also the Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queens University Belfast. He is a member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and serves as a Parole Commissioner in Northern Ireland and as a member of the Parole Board in the Republic of Ireland. He also chairs the Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) Project which seeks to support strategic litigation in the human rights and equality field.

Dr Jane Mulcahy

Dr Jane Mulcahy

Dr Jane Mulcahy is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Limerick and has worked as a researcher in the area of criminal justice, penal policy and social justice since 2005.  Among other things, Dr Mulcahy is the project manager of the Greentown Programme, an evidence-informed, and design-led, community intervention which aims to reduce the influence of criminal networks on children and provide them with positive social opportunities. Dr Mulcahy graduated with her PhD in Law from University College Cork in 2020 on the topic of “Connected Corrections and Corrected Connections: post-release supervision of long sentence male prisoners”. 

Policing Authority meeting with the Garda Commissioner in public
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Live Broadcast from Authority Meeting

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