Skip navigation

UCD Search


Joanne O' Toole Byrne, Diarmuid Griffin, Etain Quigley, James Maher, Aoife Watters (FitzPatrick Family Foundation Doctoral Scholar)



Aoife Watters is a doctoral candiate under the supervision of Professor Paul O'Connor. Aoife graduated from the University of Ulster with an LL.B in Law and Government and then studied for her Masters in Human Rights and Criminal Justice on the Cross Border Programme in Queens University Belfast and the National University of Ireland Galway. After graduating from the LL.M with distinction, Aoife held the position of researcher for the Inspector of Prisons for 3 years. As part of her role she assisted in the inspection of the 14 prisons in Ireland and the drafting of reports and undertook research on international best practice for reports including, inter alia, the 'Standards for the Inspection of Prisons in Ireland' and 'The Irish Prison Population- An Examination of Duties and Obligations owed to Prisoners'. Aoife's PhD research will examine the issue of gender in Irish prisons from a criminological and human rights perspective.  In order to portray a true reflection of the current situation in the Irish Prison System Aoife will undertake relevant primary research in the prisons.

James Maher is a doctoral candidate under the supervision of Professor Paul O'Connor. His research will focus on immigration and criminology, exploring the experiences of foreign nationals within the Irish criminal justice system.


Etain Quigley joined the Institute as a PhD student in September 2010.  Her research aims to explore the history and operation of the Irish youth justice system with a particular focus on examining whether concepts of ‘risk’ and ‘evidence-based practice’ have influenced contemporary practice.   A combination of in-depth interviews and documentary analysis will be used to investigate these questions.

Joanne O' Toole Byrne thesis title is "Therapeutic Jurisprudence – an increasingly diverse and more prevalent application in and beyond the courtroom"

Diarmuid Griffin is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Criminology under the supervision of Professor Ian O’Donnell.  His research examines the relevance of considerations of dangerousness and risk in decision-making in the criminal justice system.  In particular, his thesis will focus on the system of early and temporary release of serious or dangerous offenders in Ireland.  Diarmuid has been a lecturer in law in NUI Galway since 2004 having graduated with a LL.M. (Criminal Justice) from University College Cork, he teaches in the areas of Criminal Law and Criminology.  In 2006 he became a member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Consultative Group and was appointed the Irish legal expert for the Transparency International Progress Report on the Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.  In 2007 Diarmuid was appointed to a legal expert group, FRALEX, which advises the recently established EU Fundamental Rights Agency based in Vienna. 

Diarmuid was awarded a six-month visiting scholarship to the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley from February to August 2010.  His research examines the decision-making process used in Ireland to determine when and under what conditions parole is granted to prisoners, particularly those serving life sentences. The Center, founded in 1961, fosters empirical research and theoretical analysis concerning legal institutions, legal processes, legal change, and the social consequences of law. 

Selected Publications

Prisons Act 2007,” Irish Current Law Statutes Annotated, Thomson and Round Hall (forthcoming).

2007 Transparency International Progress Report: Enforcement of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, Irish Chapter (forthcoming, submitted).

“The Irish briber abroad: bribing foreign public officials in international business transactions,” (2007) Commercial Law Practitioner (forthcoming, submitted).

Selected Presentations

“The Impact of Restorative Justice on the Stakeholders in the Criminal Process in Ireland,” The Stockholm Criminology Symposium hosted by the International Society of Criminology and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, Recognising Knowledge to Reduce Crime and Injustice (Stockholm, June 2006).

“Critical Issues in Restorative Justice,” invited paper presented to the Law Reform Commission (Dublin, January 2006


Nicola Hughes: After completing an honours degree in Sociology and History at NUI, Maynooth, (including a number of courses in crime and deviance), I did a Masters in Equality Studies in University College Dublin, and then a M.Sc. in Research Methods in Trinity College, Dublin. On Completion of my M.Sc. I spent two years working in the Survey Unit of the Economic and Social Research Institute, where I learned a great deal about undertaking large-scale research projects. I was then appointed as Research officer to the newly established National Crime Council, where I was involved in particular with a national study of domestic abuse. I was then part of the team at UCD, Institute of Criminology that undertook the first national study of offender recidivism in Ireland. This involved examining the records of all persons released from prison over a four year period. I was the first researcher to be granted access to the computer records of the Irish Prison Service. The findings from the National Recidivism Study formed the first part of my PhD. The second part involves in-depth interviews with young male offenders due for release from St.Patrick's Institution. I am in the process of analysing the interview data and preparing the material for inclusion in my PhD.

If you would like to know more about what I am doing please do not hesitate to get in touch.

T: 353-1-716 8730
Email: Nicola Hughes

Selected Publications

Ian O'Donnell, Eric P. Baumer, Nicola Hughes, (2008) 'Recidivism in the Republic of Ireland', Criminology and Criminal Justice Vol: 8(2): 123-146

Ian O'Donnell, Conor Teljeur, Nicola Hughes, Eric Baumer & Alan Kelly,(2007) 'When prisoners go home: Punishment, Social Deprivation and the Geography of Reintegration', Irish Criminal Law Journal Vol:17(4) 


Claire Hamilton who was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy on 1 September 2010. Her supervisor was Professor Ian O'Donnell. Claire successfully defended her PhD thesis on 5 May, Reconceptualising Penality: An Exploration of the 'New Punitiveness' in Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand 1976-2006.

Cormac Behan Ad Astra Scholar at the UCD Institute of Criminology was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy on 26 April 2010. His supervisor was Professor Ian O'Donnell. Cormac's thesis 'Citizen Convicts: Prisoner, Politics and the Vote' examined the level of civic engagement and political participation among prisoners in Ireland. Behan, C. and O’Donnell, I. (2008) ‘Prisoners, Politics and the Polls: Enfranchisement and the Burden of Responsibility’, British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 48 (3), 319-336.







Phd Scholarships Available