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A thorn in side of Government

EMILY O'Reilly has been the thorn that the Government can't pluck out over the past year. She has clashed with the Department of Agriculture over the 'Lost at Sea' fishing compensation scheme and now is at loggerheads with the Department of Health.

She displayed her frustration earlier this year in a hard-hitting speech at a 'Conference on Good Governance' in Dublin. She said even the "economically illiterate" now realised that poor governance was at the heart of the downturn.

And she criticised the political system, saying that the Government made the important decisions and the Dail merely rubber-stamped them.

Ms O'Reilly is well aware of how the political system works, having covered it during a journalistic career that began in the 1970s. She worked with the 'Irish Press' and the 'Sunday Press', served as a political editor of the 'Sunday Business Post' and as editor of 'Magill'. She has published three books, with the most controversial being her biography of murdered crime reporter Veronica Guerin.

Ms O'Reilly was appointed Ombudsman in 2003 and will be around for six more years.

A native of Tullamore, Co Offaly, she is married with five children.

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