Traveller Mediation Service

A.     Service overview and contact details 

Focus of restorative justice (RJ) and restorative practice (RP) activities

The Traveller Mediation Service (TMS) is a partnership initiative, supported by Restorative Justice in the Community (RJC), funded by the Department of Justice. It works to mediate conflicts between Travellers, between Travellers and Agencies, and between Travellers and the Settled Community. The service promotes and delivers conflict prevention and intervention skills training and capacity building to TMS stakeholders. It engages with a wide range of stakeholders that include the Gardaí, the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service and the Judiciary.

Year of commencement (RJ/RP elements)

TMS was established in 2009. It was initially called the Midlands Traveller Conflict Mediation Initiative (MTCMI) before becoming the Traveller Mediation Service in 2017. 

Service details

Traveller Mediation Service 

C/o Athlone Community Taskforce

Ball Alley Lane

Parnell Square


Co. Westmeath


Email:  (Chris McDonagh, TMS Programme Co-ordinator)

Tel: 083 432 2076 (Chris McDonagh)

Staffing structure

TMS Programme Co-Ordinator (1 full-time), Project Management Officer (1 part-time), Mediators/Trainers (1 full-time and 1 part-time)

Staff training in RJ/RP

Staff are accredited mediators with the Mediators Institute of Ireland. Two staff successfully completed Level 9 courses with the Kennedy Institute in Maynooth University, one in the M.A. in Mediation and Conflict Intervention and one in the Certificate in Restorative Practices.

Use of volunteers 

TMS operates a panel of mediators and trainers.

Volunteer training in RJ/RP

Six members of the TMS Traveller Mediation Panel received Level 6 Train-the-Trainers certificates.  Monthly meetings, peer-learning sessions, and one-to-one meetings/mentoring sessions are also held on a regular basis for panel members.

Main source(s) of funding

Department of Justice (DOJ)

Annual budget 

€234,321 income in 2019.

Nature of funding 

Quarterly grants from the DOJ.

Organisational status 

TMS is an independent body hosted by Restorative Justice in the Community (RJC).

Target client group 

Travellers, agencies and communities.

Nature of offences 

Not applicable

Source of referrals

TMS accept mediation case referrals from Travellers, communities and agencies.

Geographic area of activity

TMS is based in Athlone, Westmeath, but accepts referrals anywhere in the country.

B.     Nature of RJ/RP service

RJ/RP services provided

Mediation, Training

Mediation: TMS work to assist our clients and stakeholders to find ways to prevent, manage, and transform conflicts peacefully and effectively.

Training: TMS offer a number of different training programmes. The following courses include components on restorative practice:

  • Traveller Mediation and Conflict Training Programme (TMCTP): This is a two-part programme that runs from September to April and is based in the Kennedy Institute, Maynooth University.  Part 1 comprises two modules – ‘Conflict Resolution’ and ‘Intercultural Studies’ – which lead to a Level 5 QQI certificate accredited by the Kildare/Wicklow Education and Training Board. The course content includes a class on ‘Retributive and Restorative Justice’. Part 2 of the course is mediation training, after which students can receive a certificate awarded by the Mediators Institute of Ireland to become certified mediators. Course content includes a class on ‘Community Restorative Practices’.
  • Prison Peer Mediation Training Programme (PPMTP): This is a training programme for prisoners in the Irish prison system to support them in developing effective conflict resolution skills, with a view to reducing violence in the prison environment. Among the topics included in the training is ‘Restorative Practices in Managing Conflict’.

Activity levels

Mediation Service: not available

TMCTP Training:

Number of students 2019/20 2018/19 2017/2018 2016/17
Initially enrolled 11 14 16
Completed Course still running 5 6
Not completed Course still running 9 10

Reasons for non-completion were personal/family/work-related.

Number with victim participation: not applicable

PPMTP Training (from “2016-2019 in figures”): 1 initiative, 2 prisoners continued their mediation studies at third level (Maynooth University) post-release, 3  year time-span, 4 partners, 5 prisons took part, 8 prisoners completed the MII-accredited course and are nationally accredited professional mediators, 9 prisoners enrolled in MII-accredited course, 28 prisoners successfully completed Part 2 certification with external assessment, 100 prisoners participated, there was at least 50 percent Traveller participation. 

Community participation 

Not applicable

Offence breakdown  

Not applicable 

Offender age and gender breakdown

Not applicable


Mediation: Not available

TMTCP training, the following educational outcomes were achieved:

2019/20 2018/19 2017/18 2016/17
QQI Level  5 5 6 7
MII certified mediators Not yet completed  5 6

An evaluation of the TMTCP Pilot in 2017 found that participants rated the course highly, scoring it at 9.4 out of ten (part 1 of the course) and 9.7 (part 2 of the course). Participants valued the knowledge given and skills developed, the working methods (group discussions, role plays), the support of tutors, its cultural appropriateness and external engagements (e.g. Gardaí).  

An evaluation of the PPMTP training found it had notable impacts in three distinct areas – the personal impact on participants, the impact within the prison itself, and the wider impact in the community outside of the prison. Personal impacts included changes in how conflict was viewed and addressed (e.g. resulting in talking through issues), better awareness of their own past behaviours as well as giving them practical skills and tools for managing conflict in the future. Prison impacts included a reduction in sanctions for breaches of prison discipline, improved relationships between prison staff and prisoners and prevention of incidents. The informal nature of peer mediation meant it was difficult to fully quantify exactly how many ‘mediations’ took place. Community impacts included reductions in conflict and tensions arising in prison. 

C.     Sources of further information



Annual Reports