Almost 4,000 young offenders have been helped by Garda Youth Diversion Projects last year, Fine Gael TD has said.
Kildare Deputy Bernard Durkan said the programme provides an important crime prevention support in our communities and also helps to create a brighter future for young people.
Deputy Durkan said: “The operation of the Garda Diversion Programme is supported by the nationwide network of Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs).
“There are currently 105 GYDPs operating nationally which provided services to 3,765 young people throughout Ireland during 2017.
“GYDPs are community based, multi-agency, crime prevention initiatives which primarily seek to divert young people who have become involved in criminal or anti-social behaviour.
“They aim to support young people to develop and mature through positive interventions and interactions with a local project.
“They provide a range of education and training programmes such as academic support, IT, employment preparation and specific job training.”
Deputy Durkan continued: “My Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and his Department are currently running an extensive consultation process on the future development of GYDP services.
“Figures released to me show that over €13 million in grant funding was awarded last year to support the delivery of the nationwide network of Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
“A further €1.4 million in grant funding was provided to support a range of other activities, including project work relating to Local Drugs Task Forces, pilot mentoring initiatives and measures to support training and best practices.
“This is money well spent and I would call for increased investment in this area going forward.
“This is an invaluable service that helps to change the course of the path that young offenders find themselves on.
“It gives them a second chance as well as the supports they need to stay away from crime and get their lives back on track. This in turn makes all our communities safer.”