Minister of State with responsibility for Youth Justice, James Browne TD, this morning met with representatives of Donegal Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP).
This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the challenges encountered in Donegal by Juvenile Liaison Officers (JLOs) and Youth Justice Workers in their front-line engagement with young people.
It also afforded the local Garda and project representatives at the meeting a chance to report on their plans to develop cross border diversion work in partnership with the PSNI, and the new early intervention programme they are operating.
Following the meeting, Minister Browne said “The admirable work of Donegal GYDP is vital in our efforts to divert vulnerable young people from a life of anti-social behaviour or crime by offering positive options and alternatives to help them choose a better path.
“An important aspect of the new Youth Justice Strategy will be to enhance the engagement with children and young people who are most at risk of involvement in criminal activity, principally by enhancing the services available through the existing 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
“I met with Donegal GYDP today with my officials to learn from their experience. I was also very interested to hear and discuss their plans to work closely with the PSNI on a cross border youth diversion initiative, which I hope will be successful in diverting young people from a life of criminality.
“The on-the-ground experience from their work and the work of other GYDPs will be important in guiding implementation of the new Strategy, which I will bring to Government very shortly.
“I particularly wanted to hear at first hand about the specific challenges and issues facing young people in Donegal.”
This meeting is one of a series of upcoming meetings between Minister of State Browne and groups working in the youth justice area.
They provide an opportunity for front line organisations to share their experience and further inform policy making within the Department of Justice as the new Youth Justice Strategy nears publication in the coming weeks.