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John Lonergan

John Lonergan

Former Governor of Mountjoy Prison.

John Lonergan’s 42 years in the Irish prison service have taught him much about the worst and best sides of humanity, the importance of community, leadership, and making a difference. His talks are energetic and to the point, and he never fails to captivate an audience.  

John Lonergan spent 42 years working in the Irish Prison Service, 22 of those as  Governor of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, Ireland’s best known prison, and four of them as Governor of the top security prison in Portlaoise. He entered the prison system in 1968 and through his career he saw human nature at its worst – and often, unexpectedly, at its best – and he developed a deep understanding of both human nature and Irish society. After over 20 years as the most senior prison officer in the country, John now shares the lessons he has learned through his long, fascinating life – from his idyllic childhood in rural Tipperary to coming face to face with the darkest aspects of Irish life.

His description of life in the prison service is not only a gripping account of humanity at its rawest but also invaluable for anyone in a management position anywhere. John focuses on issues like making a difference to others, the importance of community, why we can’t enforce change on others, drugs in our society, confronting bullying, reducing the risk of suicide, why sport is so important, and balancing work, home and family.

Since he retired in 2010, he has written his autobiography, entitled ‘The Governor,’ which was published in 2010, and he has also written a book on parenting, ‘Parenting – raising your child in Ireland today,’ published in 2013. Furthermore, he has participated in three television documentaries, John Lonergan’s School Principles (Wild Fire Productions), John Lonergan’s Circus (Independent Pictures), and The Family Project (Animo), all screened on RTE 1. He has also participated in many radio and television programmes on social justice issues and the penal system.

He also does talks on leadership, motivation and dealing with humanity. He does after-dinner talks mainly on social justice issues and the societal consequences. In 2014 he gave a TEDx talk in Dublin. He also gives talks to parents of children of all ages, to community groups, voluntary organisations, etc.

He is on the boards of management of Barnardos, The Carers’ Association and Archways, a family support non-profit organisation, and ICHAS, a non-profit third level college in Limerick city.

John is a powerful speaker with an energising and clear speaking style.


    Keynote Topics:

    • social justice issues,
    • the reality of prison and how the penal system works,
    • the scourge of drugs in modern society,
    • how a moment of madness can destroy people’s lives,
    • confronting bullying in schools and colleges.
    • making a difference to others,
    • the importance of community,
    • why we can’t enforce change on others,
    • drugs in our society,
    • confronting bullying in our society,
    • reducing the risks of suicides,
    • balancing our lives between work, home and family,
    • why sport is so important.


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