Justice Minister Helen McEntee has announced funding for four new “Youth Diversion Projects” (YDPs), with a goal of diverting young people away from being involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.
According to the Department of Justice, these projects aim to “work with young people at risk of crime and anti-social behaviour to divert them away from criminal behaviour and towards better life outcomes.” They specifically focus on th age range of 12 to 17-year-olds.
The four new projects will be located in Monaghan, Wicklow, Cork and Mayo, and will receive at least €1.5 million in funding this year.
There are currently 106 YPDs in Ireland across the State, meaning this four brings the total to 110. Funding for these programs has increased by 67% since McEntee came into office as Minister, growing from €18 million in 2020 to €30 million in 2023.
Announcing the funding on Tuesday, McEntee said that she was “committed to building stronger, safer communities.”
“We will continue to look at how we can support at-risk young people through youth diversion interventions,” she added.
According to the Irish Daily Mail this week, some of the teenagers who have been wreaking havoc on Dublin’s inner city over the course of the last 12 months have received the benefit of the juvenile diversion scheme.
At least three of the teenagers who have been wreaking havoc on Dublin’s inner city over the last 12 months have received the benefit of the juvenile diversion scheme, raising questions about the leniency afforded to them by the State. #gripthttps://t.co/qkwCxTcZ7E
— gript (@griptmedia) August 21, 2023
In lieu of going through the courts and getting a criminal conviction, the scheme assigns young offenders Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers (JLO) tasked with monitoring the progress of each case.
JLOs work within each Garda Division in Ireland, with these officers responsible for maintaining informal contacts with young people at risk of offending, and to liaise with teachers, Tusla staff, school attendance officers and other Gardaí in their local area.
According to the paper, the teens – some as young as 14 – have been involved in robberies, assaults, and intimidation of people across the north inner city.
“Despite the leniency afforded to them by the State, the teenagers have gone on to commit further crimes, often while in the process of being appointed a JLO, with politicians, both national and local, calling for stricter deterrents,” the Irish Daily Mail reported.