NewsCrime Desk

Wife killer Joe O'Reilly is now a go to guy for prisoner counselling

The Listener: Wife killer Joe O'Reilly
The Listener: Wife killer Joe O'Reilly

According to a report in the Irish Daily Star, troubled inmates are being directed to wife killer Joe O'Reilly for counselling.

The convicted murderer has completed intensive training as a prison 'listener' in Arbour Hill. 

Reilly, who was found guilty of blugeoning his wife to death, underwent training for the role with The Samaritans. The Star reports the disturbed killer now wears a green shirt with the word 'Listener' emblazoned on the front.

His duties are to lend an ear to prisoners who are seeking the confidence of another inmate. 

A source told the Star: "The Listener Scheme is a very good programme. A lot of inmates in for fairly horrific crimes do find their conscience troubling them, while others find it difficult being separated from their families. 

In itself it can prompt self harm or suicide attempts. But while most of the inmates wouldn't want to be pouring their heart out to an officer, they can feel freer talking to one of their own."

An inmate can avail of a 'Listener' by contacting a prison warden who will in turn introduce them and provide a listening suite. 

A source told the Star O'Reilly, who also works in the baking area of the kitchens, is free to go talk to any inmate in difficulty at any time day or night. 

In July 2007, O’Reilly was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife at their home in the Naul, Co. Dublin. 

Rachel O'Reilly's badly beaten body was found in the bedroom of her home on October 4 2004. 

The 42-year-old recently lodged an application under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice. O’Reilly is currently serving a life sentence for the murder and previously lost an appeal against his murder conviction in 2009. 

Speaking to the Star, a source said it rankles with some of the inmates that a convicted killer who has shown no remorse for his crime is now a counsellor. 

"Although a lot of officers have time for the scheme, it sticks in a lot of fellas' throats that a man who bludgeoned his wife to death and has never shown any remorse is effectively now working as a counsellor.
"I mean, this fella went on the Late Late with the lady's mother."