Minister Flanagan welcomes second progress report of the Effectiveness and Renewal Group for the Department of Justice and Equality


Report documents progress & concludes the Department has been ‘energetic and positive’ in its pursuit of change


Ms Oonagh Buckley will be appointed Second Deputy Secretary as part of the Departmental restructuring


16 October 2018


The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan, T.D., has welcomed the second report of the Effectiveness and Renewal Group (ERG) for the Department of Justice and Equality. 

The report, which was considered by Government this morning, documents progress in the radical restructuring of the Department.

The ERG, which was established by Government in January of this year to monitor and guide change within the Department, found good progress has been made since its last report in June.

Progress includes new senior management appointments, the implementation of a change communication strategy and the issuing of a tender to procure external consultants to assist in the structural transformation of the Department.

The report also states:

Minister Flanagan said:

“This report clearly shows that the primary foundations for change are now in place in the Department of Justice and Equality.

“I would again like to thank the Effectiveness and Renewal Group for their continued dedication.  The Department will now move forward with the next phase of the radical restructuring of one of the great institutions of our State.”


Minister Flanagan also announced a new key appointment in the Department of Justice and Equality, stating:

“I am also pleased to announce that Ms Oonagh Buckley has been selected by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) for appointment to the new Deputy Secretary post for Justice and Equality. Ms Buckley will have responsibility for Justice and Equality in the new structure and will take up the position shortly, joining Secretary General Aidan O’Driscoll and Deputy Secretary (Home Affairs) Oonagh McPhillips in leading the forthcoming restructuring of the Department and ensuring that the Department is effective in delivering outstanding public service.”

In accordance with its terms of reference, the Effectiveness and Renewal Group will remain in place to oversee the changes required and will continue to work closely with the Department and all stakeholders.  Its next report to Government is due at the end of December.


The report has been published today on the Department’s website




Note to Editors:

Full Report available here



Appointment of Ms. Oonagh Buckley

Ms. Oonagh Buckley has been selected by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) for appointment to the new Deputy Secretary post with responsibility for Justice and Equality matters including Civil Law Reform, Integration and Equality, as well as access to justice and the Courts.

Ms Buckley was appointed Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission in 2016 and previously served in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as in positions in the Department of the Environment and Department of Foreign Affairs.  She holds a BCL; a LLM in Comparative European Law; a MA in European Studies; and was called to the Bar in 1996; earlier this year she was awarded an MSc in Business from UCD Smurfit School of Business.  In 2017 she was appointed an adjunct Professor in Law at UCC and was a member of the Legal Aid Board from 2011 to 2013.  


About the ERG:

On 30 January 2018 the Government approved the establishment of an independent

Change Implementation Group for the Department of Justice and Equality:


  1. To assess progress in implementing the recommendations of the Toland Report; 
  2. To review the culture of the Department, make recommendations for change, particularly in respect of its decision-making and management, prioritisation and communication of information including how and when information is conveyed to the Minister’s office and if the Minister’s office is appropriately resourced in this context; 
  3. To examine in particular, the relationship between the Department and the Gardaí, to ensure that the relationship is appropriately structured, is understood in both organisations and operates in such a way as to ensure accountability and better performance; 
  4. To provide continued external oversight of the implementation of the Toland Report; 
  5. To draw on the expertise of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and the Policing Authority in conducting its work; 
  6. To provide progress reports to the Government and to the Oireachtas, and to make recommendations with regard to any aspect of its terms of reference. 


Membership of the Effectiveness and Renewal Group: