“When O’Reilly was appointed in 2003 (despite opposition from two ministers, she has been told), the Fianna Fáil-led government of the day had just decided to curtail severely the Freedom of Information Act.
She believes the act came as “a huge shock to the system” for the Civil Service, and that while overall the culture has changed enormously over the past decade, “pockets of secrecy” remain.”
“Certainly the Department of Justice, for its own cultural and historical reasons, remains very secretive, very closed. If there is one thing I regret, it is that asylum, immigration and prisons are still outside any independent complaint-handling watchdog.”
Outgoing Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, above, speaking to the Irish Times ahead of taking up her new position as European Ombudsman in Strasbourg next week.
Emily O’Reilly interview: ‘I wasn’t going to park 20 years of my life’s experience at the door of the office’ (Irish Times)
Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland