Key Points for Criminal Justice and Equality Infrastructure


The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell, T.D., today announced ambitious Justice and Equality Programmes under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 amounting to over 2.8bn Euro.

Presenting the programmes, the Tánaiste said "The delivery of the Department's  broad remit and its effective application of an annual spend of over 2 billion Euro strongly support the implementation of the National Development Plan which aims to increase the capacity of Ireland's economy to maintain strong and sustainable growth in output and employment. 

My Department's involvement in the National Development Plan 2007-2013 reflects these social inclusion issues as well as ongoing changes in Irish society and the strategies adopted by Government to meet those challenges."

Prison Programme

An unprecedented 1.230bn Euro will be spent on capital programmes across the prisons, juvenile detention and probation service. The Irish Prisons Service is embarking on a major capital programme involving the replacement of four prisons on the Mountjoy Campus.  It is also proposed to provide a new complex at a location in Munster to replace Cork Prison and the facility at Spike Island.

The second element of this capital programme aims to plan and deliver on the redevelopment of existing youth justice detention facilities and the development of new facilities to meet the statutory requirement of the Children Act 2001 in respect of offending children under 18 years of age sentenced to detention by the Courts.

The third element is the Probation Service capital element of Reintegration of Offenders Programme.

Garda Programme

The Government is committed to improving the standard of Garda stations and facilities throughout the State as well as the provision of a new Forensic Science Laboratory. "I am pleased with the allocation of 352m Euro towards the provision of appropriate support facilities for An Garda Síochána as this is of crucial importance to the effective operation of a modern police force. The Plan will make available the funding required to address these needs, through the continued development of IT and communications infrastructure and equipment, as well as the additional accommodation requirements as the force expands towards 15,000." the Tánaiste said.  Additional funding of 260 million Euro is provided towards refurbishment of Garda stations in the vote of the Office of Public Works. 

Courts Programme

The Courts Service's capital funding programme 2007-2010 places a priority on developing and refurbishing county venues.  It also plans to develop its infrastructure in Dublin (the new state of the art Criminal Courts Complex) and at other areas of rapidly increasing population around the country with an investment of 504m Euro.

Youth Justice Programme

The Youth Justice Programme amounts to over 224m Euro over the period of the NDP, 104m Euro of which is allocated for implementation of Restorative Justice Community Sanctions under the Children Act 2001. The objective of this sub-programme is to reduce the number of children sentenced to detention by the courts and to improve outcomes for children in a range of areas including such matters as the rate of re-offending, educational attainment, family supports and substance abuse. The remaining 120m Euro is allocated to Garda Youth Diversion Projects which will be increased to almost 130 nationwide.

Rehabilitation of Prisoners Programmes

NDP funding of 300m Euro will support the development of structures and the provision of prison rehabilitation programmes that are aimed at increasing employability, promoting pro-social attitudes and addressing offending behaviour.  The programmes will not only enhance existing services but will also introduce a number of new services.  Of this, 26.5m Euro will be spent on Programmes for the Reintegration of Offenders including almost 6.6m Euro for the Restorative Justice sub-programme.  As the Tánaiste has indicated he will shortly announce his proposals for a Working Group to look at developments in restorative justice from a national and international perspective. The sub-programme will be developed having regard to the findings of the Working Group with the aim of rolling out restorative justice in a strategic way so as to facilitate direct person-to-person work with victims of crime, thus affording these victims a significant role in the criminal justice process and bringing about a large measure of restitution and reparation.

The Probation Service, with its capital allocation for Re-integration of Offenders programme, proposes to provide Probation Centres in high risk communities to provide appropriate interventions for persons coming to the attention the Probation Service.  This investment will expand the range of services for offenders leaving custody and those placed under the supervision of the Probation Service by the Courts.  The development of Probation Centres will allow for the provision of specific programmes to a targeted group to overcome obstacles to their re-integration in the community.

Integration of Migrants Programme

36.25m Euro will be spent on the Integration Programme. This Programme aims to facilitate initiatives which promote the integration of all legally resident immigrants. Research projects will also contribute to identifying appropriate and effective interventions.

Local Policing Fora

The Tánaiste established Joint Policing Committees and Local Policing Fora under the provisions of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the further establishment, as envisaged under the Government's National Drugs Strategy, of Community Policing Fora in Local Drug Task Force areas will build on the State's promotion of social inclusion over the lifetime of the Plan.

The Tánaiste said "14m Euro is to be spent on this initiative which provides a practical facility for An Garda Síochána, locally and nationally elected representatives, officials from local authorities and representatives from local communities working together in partnership to address local policing and related issues. These measures will not only assist in the State's development of its overall crime prevention response but will also act as a practical means of supporting the capacity of local communities to meaningfully participate in crime prevention, which is a key feature of the Government's strategy for social policy development".

Social Inclusion Measures

Some 27m Euro will be spent over the next seven years on social inclusion measures under the National Action Plan against Racism (NPAR) and the Programme for Social and Economic Advancement of Members of the Traveller Community. 

The overall aim of the National Action Plan against Racism (NPAR) is to encourage the emergence of a more inclusive, society in Ireland based on a commitment to inclusion by design, policies which promote equality of opportunity, mutual understanding and respect.

The Programme for Social and Economic Advancement of Members of the Traveller Community plans to implement recommendations of the High Level Group of Officials established in December 2003 to support to the fullest possible participation of Travellers in Irish society. The High Level Group will oversee the initial implementation of its recommendations and the establishment of the interagency approach at local level.

National Women's Strategy

58.64m Euro is planned to be spent on the implementation of the National Women's Strategy due to be published shortly. It will be a cross-departmental Strategy which will impact upon and aim to enhance the socio-economic status of women. Equal opportunity in the NDP covers both gender mainstreaming and the elimination of inequalities in order to address national priorities in relation to tackling social exclusion and poverty.

Domestic Violence

In relation to domestic violence, 21m Euro is allocated to continue to support information and awareness campaigns.

Gender Equality programme

This Gender Equality programme (68m Euro) aims to address the need for measures to improve equality between men and women and to tackle educational and social barriers to women entering and progressing within the workforce with particular focus on disadvantaged women. In addition to promotional delivery, it is intended to progress expenditure on equality proofing, which seeks to identify any unintended negative impacts of policy on any category of persons protected by equality legislation.

Disability Programme

Over 16m Euro funding will be available for a programme of overarching support projects in the Justice area focusing on improved accessibility to services including technology development and implementation of existing legal provisions in relation to the position of people with disabilities.

23 January 2007