CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Speech by Minister of State David Stanton
For Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service event in Midleton, Co Cork on
Friday, 20th October 2017
I am delighted to be here today to mark a number of important events for Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service, commonly known as CDYS. It is 15 years since the Feabhas Garda Youth Diversion Project first opened its doors and 10 years since the Mallow GYDP commenced its services. In addition, CDYS has recently launched a new mobile GYDP service for north County Cork.
We are all familiar with the excellent work carried out by CDYS to support young people, families and communities, including the youth ministries, music and film projects, the drugs initiatives and the two Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
I am very familiar with these two GYDPs and I have seen first-hand, since they were established, the much needed support and assistance they provide to young people who get into trouble with the law or get involved in anti-social behaviour. Feabhas GYDP has gone from strength-to-strength, and I am informed that it is fondly known as ‘the parish’ by its participants. The great work it does will be evident for all to see in the short film we will be seeing shortly. This film shines a light on the positive impact the project has had on so many lives. I want to thank all those participants, past and present, who will be sharing their experiences with us today. They are a great example of the positive outcomes that can be achieved from engagement with Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
In much the same way, I have observed the great successes of the Mallow GYDP. I am pleased to see how it has managed to make a constructive difference to the community by having a positive impact on the lives of participants; the lives of their peers; the lives of their families; and on the community of Mallow and its environs. Justin Lowe, who was the first referral to the Mallow GYDP, will be sharing his experiences of the project and what it has done for him. He is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of all those involved with the Mallow GYDP. I want to thank Justin in advance for speaking to us, and also all those with us here today from the Mallow GYDP. I think they should all be very proud of what they have achieved in the last ten years. Long may the good work being carried out in both the Feabhas and Mallow GYDPs continue. As part of the wider network of GYDPs, they play a very important role in the area of crime prevention, and I commend them for this.
I might also take this opportunity to mention the Work To Learn Programme which is being operated successfully in these two projects. The Work To Learn Programme is a GYDP based work experience initiative for young people and is supported by State Street, a financial institution in Ireland. You might recall that I launched this programme in Cobh in May this year. I am a big supporter of this project and I am delighted to hear that it may be extended to a number of other projects around the country in 2018.
As you will be aware CDYS expanded in September the GYDP services it provides to cover large areas of north and east County Cork. It has done so in partnership with the Irish Youth Justice Service and An Garda Síochána. This has been possible because of Dormant Accounts funding that has been made available.
This new pilot mobile project will play a crucial role in expanding upon the great work already being done by CDYS. It will provide support and interventions in rural areas and the towns of Charleville, Kanturk, Buttevent, Mitchelstown, Fermoy and my home town of Midleton. This initiative will allow Juvenile Liaison Officers to identify and refer individual at-risk young people into an appropriately focused support, which can be a particular challenge in more rural areas.
I understand that since commencing its work in September 2017 that the new project has had an encouraging start and I want to express my most sincere well wishes to all involved.
I’m aware that many of the people who have played an important role in getting the pilot project established are here today. This programme would not be possible without their hard work, effort and commitment. Firstly, I must praise CDYS in its innovation in proposing and working towards the establishment of this new pilot project. Brian Williams, who I have known for many years, and his team are to be commended for making this extension of services possible.
I’d also like to thank the four youth justice workers involved in this project, and also those involved in the Feabhas and Mallow GYDPs, for the work they do. It seems clear to me that they are key to the success of projects of this kind. Their aim of working through positive interaction and interventions with young people is to build their self-esteem and to encourage positive behavioural patterns while in their community. We have seen positive results in this regard in all of the projects and I am sure this will be maintained and built upon in the future.
I also want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Juvenile Liaison Officers, the local Gardaí, all the other staff and management involved in this project and the two GYDPs, and the volunteers who give their time so generously. I think it is fair to say that projects like these have the potential to be life changing for the young people involved.
I’m truly grateful to all concerned for getting this new initiative up and running and I’m pleased that the Department of Justice and Equality, through the IYJS, has been able to support the project. With the launch of this pilot project, CDYS and the IYJS are leading the way in helping to divert young people towards more positive life choices.