This initiative was launched in Ireland at a symposium at Maynooth University on 1st March 2019. Based on the discussions and information exchanged that day, and subsequently, the draft Strategy for Change in Ireland was published on 4th June . It can be accessed on the Probation Service and Maynooth University websites.

Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change is part of a four year cross European project in which Ireland and nine other European countries are taking part. The purpose of the project is twofold:-

to contribute towards refocussing European criminal justice systems, agencies, policies and practices around restorative principles and processes; and
to determine how the Council of Europe Recommendations CM/Rec(2018)8 concerning restorative justice in criminal matters could be used to support this work.

Four Core members for each participating country were appointed to bring stakeholders together. In Ireland, these members are noted in the Strategy as followss:

Dr. Ian Marder (Maynooth University)
Tim Chapman (University of Ulster)
Ursula Fernee (Probation Service)
Dr. Kieran O’Dwyer (Kennedy Institute Peacebuilding Group).

To this end, they organised the one day symposium at Maynooth University on 1st March which 94 stakeholders holders attended. These included members of government departments, NGO’s, criminal justice agencies including the judiciary, the legal profession and academics.

In May, the Core members for the other participating jurisdictions – Albania, Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Scotland – attended a meeting at Maynooth University.

Since then, the number of stakeholders involved has increased to over 200 and through a process of consultation the first Irish output of this 4 year, cross-European project has been produced.