Murderer Joe O’Reilly is now offering comfort and advice to inmates behind bars in Arbour Hill jail after training as a counsellor.
The 42-year-old – who beat his wife Rachel to death – is made available to troubled prisoners who want to talk about their problems and fears.
Wife-killer O’Reilly underwent specialised training with The Samaritans for the role.
Under the initiative, certain prisoners who undergo the course can become jail counsellors and are identified by their green T-shirt with the word ‘listener’ written on it.
“Although he works in the kitchens during the day, he’s free to go and talk to any inmate day or night,” said a prison source.
“If a prisoner requests him during the night, a warder is sent to unlock his cell and bring him down,” the source added.
Although prison officers see the benefits of the scheme, because prisoners do not generally want to open up to staff, some are critical of Joe O’Reilly holding the position because of his past.
“He has shown no remorse for bludgeoning his wife to death, and he is now effectively a counsellor,” said the prison source.
“You would have thought he would have to reconcile himself with his own actions before taking on the troubles of other inmates,” the source added.
O’Reilly was transferred from the Midlands Prison to Arbour Hill in 2013, and undertook the training after his arrival there.
He is understood to have started the role as ‘listener’ in the past few weeks, but it is not clear how many times his services have been called upon.
In July 2007, O’Reilly was jailed for life by the Central Criminal Court for the 2004 murder of his wife Rachel Callaly, who he beat to death at their home in the Naul in north county Dublin.
The Court of Appeal last month reserved judgement on whether O’Reilly can apply to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.
Counsel for the DPP asked the court to dismiss O’Reilly’s application on the basis that it was not based on any new facts.
O’Reilly’s application is based on the issue that on the fourth day of the trial part of the book of evidence was left in the jury room.
The foreman of the jury told judge Barry White that, to his knowledge, the jury had not read any part of the evidence book.
O’Reilly lost a previous appeal against his conviction in 2009, and in 2012 failed in another attempt to have the conviction quashed.