Restorative practices, including restorative justice, have been gaining traction in Ireland over the last few decades. Increasingly, there is Irish and international evidence that this approach can be effective in a wide range of settings and across a continuum of interventions, from prevention and early intervention to victim offender mediation and more serious offences.
At a national policy level, and in core legislation, restorative approaches are a central strand in minimising and managing conflict. For example, the Garda Diversion Programme, the Children Act (2001), and community reparation panels operated by the probation service all draw on restorative approaches. We welcome the interest and commitment of government and many statutory agencies, and recommend that these approaches become “business as usual” for all those working with communities and vulnerable groups, offering a common language, consistent processes and clear expectations.