Strengthening Restorative Justice Provision and Collaboration in Ireland
1 December, 2023
At a meeting of restorative justice service managers in June 2023, one agreed action was for Maynooth University to host and facilitate a meeting on the development of restorative justice provision in Ireland with service managers and practitioners. This took place in Maynooth on 27 November 2023, attended by around thirty persons from Athy Alternative Project, the Cornmarket Project, Le Chéile, Restorative Justice in the Community, Restorative Justice Services, Tuam Community Training Centre (Community-Based Organisations [CBOs] which deliver, or will soon deliver, restorative justice in the criminal justice process) and the Probation Service. CBOs’ attendees included service managers and restorative justice practitioners. The Probation Service’s attendees included persons in the Restorative Justice and Victim Services Unit (RJSVU) and Probation Officers from counties which have restorative justice CBOs.
At the event, the host, Ian Marder, agreed to write a ‘plan on a page’ for this group with clearly defined, collective goals and objectives. He proposed that these align with the event’s goals: 1) strengthening communication and collaboration between restorative justice providers; 2) contributing towards the increased accessibility of high-quality, safe restorative justice for all persons who might benefit from participation. The group will seek to achieve this by:
- building relationships and breaking down barriers across the sector;
- facilitating conversations on how services can collaborate to maximise accessibility; and,
- supporting discussions on new policies and the future direction of implementation.
On 27 November, in addition to the development of this page, the group agreed by consensus that:
In November 2023, Ian Marder (Maynooth University) will contact attendees to invite them to join the Restorative Justice Strategies for Change mailing list to receive updates on related restorative justice developments in Ireland (see restorativejustice.ie).
In December 2023, Rachel Lillis (Probation Service) will organise an in-person meeting of the service managers at the Probation Service, to take place in January 2024, to:
- reflect on the joint event on 27 November;
- discuss the potential for collaborative training between their organisations; and,
- discuss the writing and publishing of a document outlining the role and work of each restorative justice CBO, to include the geographical remit, referral pathways, practice models and contact details, once service-level agreements are reached for 2024.
In December 2023, Rachel Lillis (Probation Service) will seek and circulate an update on the development of a shared drive for CBOs, which will have the aim of enabling CBOs to share their policies and procedures.
In or before June 2024, Emily Sheary (Restorative Justice in the Community) will organise and host a second meeting of all RJ service practitioners and managers in Tipperary to:
- discuss successful cases and share practical learning as a community of practice;
- discuss International Restorative Justice Week and other promotional ideas; and,
- enable a second in-person meeting of service managers in 2024 to plan continued collaboration.