Community Restorative Justice ‘is a model that Louth desperately needs’, Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.
The Louth TD highlighted the work of Community Restorative Justice Newry/Armagh in Dundalk, which held a closing event to celebrate the completion of the ‘Community Capacity Building Project’ in Muirhevnamor Community Centre.
The EU PEACE IV-funded project has delivered multiple workshops with cross-community and cross-border groups on the themes of anti-racism and cultural awareness, created a film resource with international students in DkIT, cross border and cross community political and historical tours, youth engagements and the creation of an extensive resource on inclusivity for community groups.
Community Capacity Building Project also built community capacity through accredited ILM leadership and Management training to community members and Striving Toward a Restorative Society (STARS) training which successfully engaged community members in learning about a restorative approach.
Louth County Council was one of the funders of the project, supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with match funding provided by The Executive Office and the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘I was delighted to be invited to this closing event and to get the opportunity to see once again the incredible work being carried out by CRJ Newry/Armagh.
‘I have long been impressed with the community restorative justice model espoused by this group and it is clear that CRJ is something that Louth desperately needs at the moment.
‘Sharon Grimes and Mercedes Hunt have worked incredibly hard on this project in Louth. This is the second project that CRJ has been involved with in Louth in the last short while and what we really need to see is a community restorative justice programme that can deal with issues that sometimes come across the desks of Gardaí and elected representatives.
‘These can be rows between neighbours or issues in the community that can be resolved successfully with the skills and methods that CRJ can bring to the table.
‘CRJ can play a part, at times, in de-escalating situations that have the potential to get a lot worse and can help stop them ending up in the criminal justice realm’.