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PHD Candidates

The CCJVS hosts a vibrant community of PhD candidates who receive first-class supervision and support from faculty members of the centre. We welcome queries from prospective PhD candidates within their respective research areas. Below are the profiles of our current PhD candidates.


Eoin O'MEara DalyEoin O’Meara Daly

Eoin is currently employed in the School of Law as a Youth Justice Researcher. Eoin was previously a manager in one of Ireland's biggest youth service providers, Limerick Youth Service, and has coordinated and managed a number of youth initiatives and services for young offenders in Limerick over a ten-year period. He holds an Honours Degree in Applied Social Studies, an MA in Criminology from DIT and his practice experience has resulted in various other certification: facilitation training, train the trainer and supervision theory and practice, all level 5 FETAC certs. Eoin’s research expertise lies in the area of youth crime, youth crime prevention, youth offender programmes and youth justice. His MA thesis was a case study that focused on the area of 'desistance' or the cessation of offending, and how some young adults were able to stay away from crime despite being heavily involved in their younger years. This was titled, A Case Study of Youth Crime Desistance in a Disadvantaged Area and focused on complex ex-offenders striving to 'make good' in one of Ireland’s ‘disadvantaged’ communities.

Eoin will undertake a process evaluation of the community efficacy strand of a new evidence informed Irish programme for young people caught up in adult criminal networks. Using a case study design and a mixed methods approach, this research will examine and evaluate the implementation process of the community efficacy strand of a new evidence-informed Irish programme for children and young people caught up in adult criminal networks. The project will establish the normative standards in ideal models of community efficacy in youth crime interventions as disclosed by the literature and gauge the path to how the community efficacy strand was implemented in the case study location.


Lorraine BarronLorraine Barron

Lorraine holds a BA and LLB from UL. She is currently pursuing a PhD research thesis in criminal justice, under the supervision of Dr Ger Coffey and Dr Susan Leahy a funded by the Irish Research Council, that critically analyses the current legislative framework in Ireland concerning the post-release management of sex offenders from a comparative perspective within a human rights and due process framework. Lorraine has received substantial funding to continue her doctrinal research, including the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences’ fee waiver, the School of Law Judge John Murray Tutorial Scholarship, and the Irish Research Council Government of Ireland scholarship. She has published in both national and international peer-reviewed law journals and has presented papers on her research at domestic and international conferences, including the Society of Legal Scholars annual conference and the annual conference of the European Criminal Law Academic Network. She has lectured in both public and private law, including computer ethics and investigation law, constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law, and has tutored in EU law, company law, equity and trusts, contract law, media law and legal environment of business. Her research interests are in the areas of criminal justice (with particular emphasis on sexual violence), human rights and restorative justice.


Eoin GuilfoyleEoin Guilfoyle

Eoin graduated with an LLB in Irish Law from Griffith College Cork in 2010 and was awarded an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. In 2014, he commenced a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Dr Susan Leahy. His research is funded by the Irish Research Council. His thesis sets out how community service orders operate in Ireland and identifies what changes can be made to the sanction to increase its use and to divert a greater number of offenders away from sentences of imprisonment. Eoin’s publications include articles in the Irish Criminal Law Journal and the Irish Probation Journal. He has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences and was an invited speaker at a sentencing seminar for District Court judges in 2014. Eoin has previously worked as a researcher for the Irish Sentencing Information System Steering Committee (ISIS) where he collected sentencing data and examined sentencing trends in the Circuit Criminal Court. He has tutored criminal law and EU law in UL and also tutored in legal workshops run by Future Voices Ireland. He is currently working as a researcher for the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Eoin is also an MII certified mediator.


Grainne Jennings

Gráinne Jennings is a civilian lecturer working in An Garda Siochána (AGS). She graduated with a 2.1 BA (hons) degree in Applied Social Science from Kingston University and holds a 1st class (hons) MA  degree in eLearning (Design and Development) from UL. In addition to teaching, Gráinne has significant experience in the design, development, delivery and validation of law enforcement and operationally relevant training programmes. She has advised on An Garda Siochána’s lifelong learning strategy and worked with external agencies including the Irish Prison Service, the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Fisheries Board. Prior to joining AGS, Gráinne worked primarily in third level, adult education and the community sector.

Grainne’s doctoral research is supervised by Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Dr Alan Cusack and explores the integration and application of learning set within the complexities and realities of modern Irish policing. The Review of Training, published by An Garda Siochána in 2009, revealed the existence of a disjuncture between initial police education and training and operational policing. Through an examination and exploration of the philosophy and application of problem based learning (PBL) in policing delivered through the BA in Applied Policing programme at the Garda College in Templemore, her research seeks to uncover new and advanced understandings of PBL in initial police education and training. Her research interests include police education and training, the significance of empathy in policing in working with both victims and perpetrators’ of crime and the changing nature of policing in Ireland in the 21st century.


Michelle McCarthyMichelle McCarthy

Michelle McCarthy graduated from UL with a BA in History, Politics, Sociology & Social Studies in 2013. She then completed her postgraduate studies in Law, for which she received an LLB from UL in 2015, and in 2017 she completed her LLM in Human Rights in Criminal Justice (first class honours) in UL with her thesis, Why the victim has returned: Exploring the dynamics which have promoted the role of crime victims in the Irish jurisdiction. Michelle is currently pursuing a PhD research thesis under the supervision of Dr Susan Leahy and Dr Margaret Fitzgerald-O’Reilly. Her working title is 'Hidden Victims: Adult male offenders as victims of crime in Ireland' and her research will examine the State’s response to the experiences of victimisation of adult male offenders. Michelle was awarded the Professor Henry Ellis PhD Fee Waiver by the School of Law to continue her research and she has moderated on an online module in Human Rights Law. She is a member of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, the Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development, as well as the CCJVS in UL. Her research interests include human rights, victimology and criminology.


Beth DuaneBeth Duane

Beth Duane recently graduated from the MA in Human Rights in Criminal Justice at UL with first class honours. Her dissertation focused on issues surrounding mental health and mental illness within the Irish criminal justice system. Prior to this, she received a BA in Sociology, Political Science and History from NUIG, also first class honours. Beth has previously worked with the Association for Criminal Justice Research & Development and was also heavily involved in the establishment of a new programme undertaken by ADAPT Services raising awareness of domestic violence and how it impacts upon youth. She is currently undertaking PhD research under the supervision of Dr Margaret Fitzgerald O’Reilly and Dr Susan Leahy; her research is titled 'Prison Violence in Adult Prisons in Ireland: Assessing Causes, Effects and Responses'. Beth’s research will examine the effects that the prison environment has on an individual, the legal duty of care afforded to prisoners by the state and the existing responses to prison violence in other jurisdictions that could effectively be implemented in Ireland. To conduct her research, Beth was awarded The Honourable Mr Justice John Murray PhD Scholarship, and has tutored criminal procedure, which is part of the online BA in Applied Policing to members of An Garda Síochána. Her research interests include human rights, criminology, penal policymaking, techniques of punishment, and criminal law.


William PoutchWilliam Poutch

William Poutch returned to education after a gap of 33 years, studying Criminology and Social Studies at Colaiste Phobal in Roscrea where he graduated with full distinction in 2011. He credits his successful application as a mature student to UL where he successfully completed his studies in Law & Sociology (LLB+), graduating in 2015 with a first class honours degree.  In 2017, William also successfully completed a Master of Laws in Human Rights in Criminal Justice (LLM) graduating with a first class hons degree.  Attached to the CCJVS, William is now a PhD scholarship student in the School of Law. The working title of his thesis is, ‘A Contextual Analysis of the Department of Social Protection’s Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy’. This builds upon his Master’s thesis, specifically in terms of the legal framework of social welfare fraud investigation, enforcement and sanction.  As a tutor in the School of Law, William has received positive feedback from both colleagues and students teaching company law 1 & 2, nursing and mid-wifery law, intellectual property law, and as a tutor for the Department of Sociology, tutoring sociology of the media, sociology of media audiences, and introduction to sociology. As part of his co-op, William was the first Law graduate to be appointed as a research assistant with the School of Law. William has worked on a diverse range of projects within the school, including contributing materials for a presentation by law school academics to a Seanad Committee on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 and editing a follow-up article for the Cork Online Law Review.  William also identified a potential opportunity for the University to provide Legal English classes for visiting law students and professionals. William’s main areas of interest are the interaction between law and society, teaching and research.    


PJ Ryan

PJ Ryan has completed a BA in Legal Studies, an MA in Legal Studies (research) and an LLM. He has significant lecturing and external examiner experience and currently lectures in criminal law, contract law and commercial law. PJ has published in various Irish journals such as the Commercial Law Practitioner and the Irish Law Times.  Under the supervision of Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Prof. Ray Friel he is currently researching for a PhD that will examine how the criminal justice system in Ireland has, in part, moved away from the traditional model of evidence gathering leading to criminal prosecution with the ultimate aim of punishing the soul, towards one that is results-orientated and concerned with threat neutralisation rather than retribution or rehabilitation. The exemplar that he is taking to demonstrate such a thesis is that of the Criminal Assets Bureau. The thesis merges his interests in both criminal law and legal change by employing an operational and results-based approach to consider the impacts and practical outcomes of this new actuarial  approach to criminal wrongdoing, one that employs civil, administrative and regulatory mechanisms.


Stephen  Strauss-WalshStephen Strauss-Walsh

Stephen Strauss-Walsh received a first-class honours LLB from UL in 2015. That same year he won a UL School of Law scholarship to help him pursue a PhD entitled ‘The Re-Emergence and Re-Inclusion of the Irish Crime Victim’ under Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Dr John Lombard. The following year he won a Research Postgraduate Residential Scholarship to continue his research. The project revolves around how Irish crime victims came to be socio-legally reintegrated. As an undergraduate, he won a Catherine McGuinness prize, helped co-author an IPS report on deaths in custody with Prof. Shane Kilcommins and Dr Eimear Spain, and spent a year at the University of Bologna under Europe’s foremost Marxist criminologist Prof. Dario Melossi. As a postgraduate, he won the A&L Goodbody Legal Essay Competition in 2016 and presented papers at the RIA. He has worked as a tutor at Limerick’s Regional Writing Centre and taught on subjects like criminal procedure and terrorism. He currently serves as a PhD rep for the UL AHSS faculty and School of Law, and has published in His research interests are neo-marxist criminology and victimology, legal history, penology and legal philosophy.


Andrew Lacey

Andrew Lacey was awarded a BA in Insurance & European Studies in 2001, LLB (Graduate Entry) in 2008, and a BA in Human Recourse Management in 2010 all with UL. In 2013, he completed an LLM in Criminal Law from UCC after he completed the Criminal Justice Masters clinical programme. In September 2014, Andrew commenced a PhD research thesis with the CCJVS under the supervision of Prof. Kilcommins that examines the departure from adversarialism in the Irish Criminal Justice process and the emerging transition towards dispositive justice. Andrew has 16 years’ experience as a member of An Garda Síochána, currently holding the rank of sergeant. Andrew is the course director of the postgraduate diploma in Serious Crime Investigation, a programme accredited by UL and taught through the Garda College. He previously delivered on the BA in Applied Policing programme. Andrew has recently completed a specialist diploma in Teaching, Learning & Scholarship with the University’s Centre for Teaching & Learning and is a certified hate crime trainer for law enforcement in Europe with the Office for Democratic Institutions & Human Rights.