Irish Law, Policy and Reports

Review of Policy Options for Prison and Penal Reform 2022-24

The Penal Policy Review says that the Department of Justice will (p.23) ‘Work with all criminal justice agencies to build capacity to deliver restorative justice, safely and effectively’ as one of its 21 Actions, with a policy proposal to be published and an implementation plan agreed in Q3 2022.

An Garda Síochána youth diversion annual report 2021

The report notes that 416 restorative cautions took place in 2021 (p.11) and states that mediation and RP training for JLOs (p.20), incluidng a ‘train the trainer’ programme, is ongoing.

Justice Plan 2021-2023

The Department of Justice Action Plan commits to publish policy proposals on the awareness and availability of restorative justice services in 2021.

Probation Service Annual Report 2020

In 2020, RJ was ‘further integrated into Probation supervision practice […] implementing restorative justice in forty cases covering a range of offences [and] saw a shift to the use of online platforms to deliver [RJ] interventions.’ (p.16)

Framework for the Inspection of Prisons in Ireland, 2020

The new framework includes, as a Safety & Security measure, that prison staff should ‘use conflict  prevention, mediation, restorative justice principles or other interventions to prevent and resolve conflicts’.

Building a Sustainable Community, 2019

This 2019 report about Inchicore and Kilmainham argued that a ‘dedicated [and] bespoke Restorative Practice initiative to break the cycle of youth offending in the area’ should be developed.

Building Bridges: Evaluation of Le Chéile Restorative Justice Project in Limerick

This 2015 evaluation found that participants experienced the local RJ programme positively, and estimated a social return on investment of €2.92 per Euro.

Community-Wide Restorative Practices Programme Guide to Implementation, CDI, 2014

This guide describes the steps in establishing a new community-wide Restorative Practices Programme. It includes sections on preparing, planning, implementing and bedding in RP.

National Commission on Restorative Justice, 2009

The report recommended implementing restorative justice nationally. It also estimated that ‘between 3,625 and 7,250 criminal case disposals before the courts could be by means of a restorative justice option’.

Children Act 2001

Sections 26, 29-43 and 78-87 of the Children Act (as amended) provide for Juvenile Liaison Officers and Probation to use restorative processes with young people under their supervision.

Mental Health Task Force final report

A new pilot project will enable Tipperary Gardaí in to refer cases directly to Restorative Justice in the Community – see pp. 71-73 for more information.

Le Chéile 2022 Annual Report

The report confirms that Le Chéile’s restorative justice service has been extended from Limerick and Clare to Cork. It also notes 22 young people engaged in restorative justice in 2022.

Justice Plan 2022

The Department of Justice Criminal Justice Policy team will ‘agree an implementation plan’ to ‘deliver restorative justice safely and effectively’ in Q2 of 2022 (p.33).

Le Chéile 2021 Annual Report

Le Chéile’s Annual Report says they are ‘committed to a restorative approach’ and trained 95 people in RJ, as well as supporting 21 young people through RJ, in 2021.

Supporting a Victim's Journey: A Plan to Help Victims and Vulnerable Witnesses in Sexual Violence Cases, 2020

The Department of Justice ‘will establish a multi-agency group to scope requirements for a more integrated consistent, visible and high quality restorative justice service for vulnerable victims’ and ensure that practitioners working in sexual violence have appropriate training.

Developing effective relationships between youth justice workers and young people, 2020

‘[Interventions] that embodied restorative or therapeutic philosophies […] were more effective than those based on strategies of control or coercion involving, for example, surveillance, deterrence and discipline.’ (p.34)

Victims Charter, 2020

The Charter outlines victims’ rights and entitlements to services. Find more on restorative justice in Section 3, 9 and 10 from An Garda Síochána, the National Forensic Mental Health Service and the Probation Service, respectively.

Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan, 2019-2022

The IPS commits to ‘Exploring and examining mechanisms for incorporating restorative justice principles throughout the Irish Prison Service’.

Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017

Sections 7 and 26 of the Act discuss citizens’ rights to receive information from Gardaí about restorative justice, and how the restorative justice process should be delivered, respectively. Section 34 also amends relevant parts of the Children Act 2001.

Strategic Review of Penal Policy, 2014

The Review ‘welcome[s] the expansion by the Probation Service of existing [restorative justice] projects and programmes’ and ‘recommends the extension of the restorative justice programmes’.

Probation Service Annual Report 2022

The 2022 annual report describes work to deliver training and raise awareness about restorative justice within the Probation Service, and develop an action plan.

Third DSGBV Strategy Implementation Plan

The Department of Justice and the new GBV agency will ‘Examine the role and potential of victim/ survivor-led restorative justice initiatives as part of a suite of options post-conviction and stage of release into the community’ (p.37).

Working group to disregard convictions for consensual sexual activity between men - final report

Consultation respondents ‘utilised the language of restorative justice and recommended a restorative justice approach that takes stock of and addresses the wider impact that criminalisation, stigma and discrimination had on the LGBTQI+ community in Ireland’ (p.71).

Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2021

‘In 2021, a draft Restorative Practices strategy was developed for consideration and implementation. The completion of the draft Strategy was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been prioritised for delivery in Q2 2022. RP has been embedded in Recruit Prison Officer training’ (p.63).

Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2020

‘We have embedded the principles of Restorative Practices (RP) into our RPO training. A new RP module has been devised by IPSC Tutors at is delivered as part of the syllabus. In addition, all HCCC modules, in Semester 1, are delivered in a manner which reflects and utilises RP language and principles.’ (p.54)

Progress in the Penal System, 2020, IPRT

PIPS 2020 made reference to the ’emerging practice’ of restorative justice as a growing area of penal policy, supported by a range of international and national legal and policy frameworks (p. 41).

2020 Programme for Government

The 2020 Programme for Government commits to ‘Work with all criminal justice agencies to build capacity to deliver restorative justice, safely and effectively’.

Darndale - A Long View of an Enduring Challenge, 2020

This socio-economic and community plan argues that a restorative practice programme can ‘change the cultural experience of children engaging with authority’ (p.79).

An overview of the TMS Peer Mediation in Prisons Initiative, 2020

This 2020 report outlines the development of the initiative from 2016-2019 in Castlerea and in other prisons in Ireland.

Evaluation of peer mediation in Castlerea

In 2019, an evaluation of peer mediation efforts in Castlerea found benefits to those who were trained in mediation and that the prison benefitted from the mediation service.

Progress in the Penal System 2019, IPRT

PIPS 2019 asks the IPS to make available ‘Specific training in restorative practice and how it applies on a day to day basis’, and notes that restorative justice can be used as a diversion from imprisonment.

Restorative Justice Policy Paper 2023

This new policy paper by the Department of Justice provides for new funding to expand RJ services and fulfills the commitment to publish a policy paper in the 2021 Justice Plan.

Restorative Justice Services Annual Report 2022

The Restorative Justice ServicesAnnual Report provides detailed statistics on referrals and casework in 2022, as well as providing case studies.

Criminal Justice Sectoral Strategy 2022-2024

‘We will establish an appropriate mechanism to create awareness and availability of restorative justice at all stages of the criminal justice system [and] ensure consistency of service and quality in training and practice’ (p.11).

Oberstown Annual Report 2020

The Oberstown Report discusses the ongoing training of staff in RP and the use of restorative principles in delivering personal development programmes for young people (pp. 22 & 47)

Restorative Justice Services 2020-2022 Strategic Plan

The RJS Strategic Plan for 2020-22 outlines plans to expand service provision, develop its practice and evaluate its work.

Restorative Justice Services 2019 Annual Report

The RJS 2019 annual report shows that total annual referrals to RJS rose from 281, to 367 and 431 in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Action Plan for the Joint Management of Offenders, 2019-2021

In this Joint Action Plan, the partner agencies commit to ‘Develop joint arrangements – including in the area of victim-offender mediation – for providing victims of crime with opportunities for positive, restorative responses to the harm they have suffered.’

Garda Youth Diversion Projects, 2019 Annual Conference

The proceedings from the annual conference restate the commitment of the diversion programme to a restorative philosophy and highlight the national rollout of RP training in all project in future years.

Progress in the Penal System 2018, IPRT

PIPS 2018 called on the Irish Prison Service to train all prison staff in restorative justice and collate and publish data on conflict resolution, mediation and restorative justice in Irish prisons.

Monitoring the Effectiveness of the Diversion Programme, 2017 Annual Report

The 2017 report illustrates the year-on-year drop in restorative cautions since 2014, but predicts that the number will rise again in the coming years. 

Athy Alternative Project Strategic Plan 2023-2026

The strategy outlines the Alternative Project’s plans to expand its services to include restorative justice.

Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027

The strategy incorporates restorative justice and practice under principles around partnerships and victims, and in objectives including diversion and early intervention.

Drogheda: Creating a bridge to a better future, 2021

The report notes that ‘there is a recognised value in [RP] as a means of addressing conflict and other challenges, in […] education, youth work and criminal justice. [This] would require dedicated resources to be taken forward and sustained.’ (p.56)

Making Innovation Real - Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, 2020

In ‘Citizen Engagement’, the innovation strategy asks public bodies to ‘Explore and test new ways of engaging with the public and others to consult on the design and delivery of proposed and existing services.’ 

Le Chéile Annual Report 2019

The Le Chéile 2019 annual report outlines their range of mentoring services, including family support interventions and restorative justice with young people.

Building Community Resilience, 2019

This 2019 report on responding to criminal networks in Dublin South Central recommends establishing a steering group and local training programmes to develop the use of restorative practices in the area.

Wexford Restorative Practices Partnership, 2016 Report

The 2016 Activities Report by WRPP describes the development of the local partnership, reporting on its first conference and its planned activities.

Restorative Justice Strategy, Probation Service, 2013

Published in 2013, this ‘provides a framework for informed, effective and integrated Restorative Justice practice in the Probation Service’.

Young People and Crime: Research, Policy and Practice

This 2007 conference proceedings from DIT has three chapters on Irish restorative justice, focusing on its use by JLOs, as a partnership in the community, and as a form of social control.

Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities?

The 2014 study found widespread support, including among sexual violence victims, for the use of RJ with sexual violence in Ireland.