Dated posted: August 1, 2022

Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne has met with staff from Extern to hear how it is helping to divert young people across the Kildare area from entering the criminal justice system.

The Minister met staff from Extern’s Youth Diversion Projects in Co Kildare, along with members of the management committee and local Gardai, during a special visit to the charity’s offices based in the Monread area of Naas last week.

Minister Browne heard about the life-changing work which Extern carries out in support of young people across the area. Extern currently operates YDPs in Naas and Athy, as well as two in North Dublin and Co Limerick. Staff also met with Kildare North TD James Lawless who is the Chair of the Justice Committee in Dail Eireann.

Co-funded by the Government and the European Union, YDPs provide early intervention and diversionary activities to young people who may be in the early stages of involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour.

Minister Browne heard how Extern's Youth Diversion Projects in Co Kildare are having a positive impact on young people's lives across the area

The Minister was given an overview of how the YDPs operate and some of the successes and challenges faced by the project. He also heard from members of the community about the positive impact of the project, as well as from senior members of the Gardai on the work being done to divert young people away from crime, whilst also meeting their needs on many other levels.

The Minister also heard how recent successes in sourcing a grant from the Joint Policing Committee will allow Extern to source vital employability measures, in line with the recently published Youth Justice Strategy.

Extern Service Manager Dermot Berry said: “We were delighted to be able to welcome Minister Browne and Mr Lawless for this special visit. Every year we support hundreds of young people and families across Naas and Athy through our life-changing interventions. For our commissioners to be able to meet the team and hear at first-hand about the impact of our work is a great boost to our service.

“The work we do really does make a huge difference not only in helping to keep young people on the right path but in keeping families stronger and our communities safer. Key to this is being able to build and maintain strong relationships with our funders and commissioners.”