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March 27: Minister Launches Youth Justice Data research and REPPP report

On March 27th 2019, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton TD today launched two significant initiatives as part of the development of a new Youth Justice Strategy and a Reform and Development Programme for the network of Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs):

  • A GYDP Action Research Project, working with 15 selected (of 106) local projects over a two-year period to identify and disseminate best practice in working with young people at risk.
  • Making it Count’ is a research study which compares data recording practices in the youth justice system in Ireland to six other jurisdictions generally considered to be top performers in terms of data collection. The policy question here is: ‘how useful is the data we keep in the youth justice system in terms of informing the tax-payer about whether it is working or not?’

Working with young people in GYDPs

The first research project is an international review of the evidence of the types of relationships which are most effective in bringing about positive change with young people. The findings of this research, due in June 2019 will be used as the basis for researchers and youth professionals to design new, more effective ways of working using the same resources. Speaking to representatives of the 15 local projects at the launch of the GYDP Action Research Project Minister Stanton said

‘Too often we get research reports which have useful findings and recommendations but don’t get implemented. The next steps with these research studies will be different. We have a determined collaboration of committed officials and local practitioners ready for change and a team based in the University of Limerick that is producing top-class practical research…’ He added  ‘I’d like to commend the fifteen projects stepping forward for this challenge. Much like Operation Transformation you have agreed to put yourselves in the spotlight, to hear things about your practice that you might not want to hear and to dig deep in pursuit of the prize of inspiring young people to positive change…’

Speaking about the research on relationships the Minister said

‘This is a very novel and innovative study and is one of a small family of studies worldwide that get into the meat of what productive relationships between young people and front-line workers should look like. Relationships are where youth professionals and young people invest most of their time, so it makes sense to find out what the evidence says about really effective relationships and how they can bring about transformative change.’      

The second research project, ‘Making it Count’ which is being launched today compares data collection practices in the Irish Youth Justice system with six leading international jurisdictions. The Irish Research Council and the Department of Justice and Equality jointly funded the research. The findings of this report will be used to inform changes in data collection practices across the youth justice system with the objective of providing better evidence to enable the design of more effective youth diversion services.

Making it Count compares data recording practices in the youth justice system in Ireland to six other jurisdictions generally considered to be top performers in terms of data collection. The policy question here is ‘how useful is the data we keep in the youth justice system in terms of informing the tax-payer about whether its working or not?’ The jurisdictions examined were carefully selected; Scotland, Sweden, England & Wales, the Netherlands and U.S. states of Pennsylvania and Washington. The research involved analysis of published information provided by each jurisdiction about performance in their respective youth justice system as well as interviewing key individuals involved in policy and research who were able to provide expert opinion about the value of the data. The report finds that Ireland collects mainly cost-related and activity-related data and that this can be quite fragmented because of the number of agencies and bodies involved in the Irish Youth Justice system. Nevertheless Ireland compares reasonably well with the other jurisdictions examined which also major on collecting and presenting cost and activity data.

Speaking about ‘Making it Count’ the research project on data practice, the Minister said

‘In many evaluations of funded programmes, the first finding is often something like, ‘the data was poor and told us very little about whether the investment was worth it..’. This research project initiated by my officials and funded by the Irish Research Council and Department of Justice and Equality decided to look at our data collection practices so that we can increase our knowledge of what is actually effective.”

The Minister added

‘A core element of this study was that we compared our practices against other jurisdictions, including ; Scotland, Sweden, England & Wales, The Netherlands and U.S. States of Pennsylvania and Washington. While it turns out that we compare reasonably favourably, I want to use this report to help change practices in Garda Youth Diversion Projects and to reform data collection across the youth justice system.’ 

Professor Sean Redmond who leads the Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice (REPPP) Unit in the University of Limerick’s Law School said;

‘This is an incredibly important partnership between the University of Limerick, policy makers and practitioners. Our mission is to produce high quality, relevant and practical research that can change things on the ground and help make things better for young people and communities. Whether it is about data, relationships or helping to unbuckle the stranglehold that crime gangs have on certain neighbourhoods, good quality research can have a real impact. It is a real privilege to work alongside policy makers willing to make the leap and humbling to work with youth professionals willing to look in the mirror and compare what they see to what the latest evidence is saying. …’

Director of the Irish Research Council Peter Brown added that the project

‘How we collect, preserve and use data is integral to the design and implementation of public policy. ‘Making it Count’ provides a valuable insight into data collection practices in the youth justice system and demonstrates the potential for evidence-based research to positively impact on policies currently shaping key areas of Irish society. The development of research partnerships with government departments and agencies is a key priority for the Irish Research Council, enabling policy and decision-makers to benefit optimally from the networks of diverse expertise at the forefront of new knowledge and understandings in our research system.’


March 4: R Word Podcast - Exploring the Potential for Relational Policy for Youth Justice in Ireland

On March 4th 2019, REPPP and The Centre for Crime, Justice and Victim Studies, School of Law, held a R Word Podcast - Exploring the Potential for Relational Policy for Youth Justice in Ireland. 
Michael Little from Ratio was in conversation with Sean Redmond about building trust and agency in criminal justice. Sean discusses the relevance of relational social policy to wicked, complex problems. He discusses the 'Greentown' study where mapping out the social networks of young people involved in criminal behaviour has led to a deeper understanding of how to respond to this group. Available at:

REPPP Project Research Showcased

Project Research Showcased

Prof Sean Redmond and John Reddy showcased the REPPP project research at the meet-and–greet with Irish Research Council board members held in UL on the 19th of January. John and Sean are pictured with IRC board member Prof. Ursula Kilkenny.

Third Intervention Programme Design Workshop

Third Intervention Programme Design Workshop

Delegates at the final intervention programme design workshop on the 12th December 2017,  along with Prof Shane Kilcommins, Head of School of Law, UL, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton, TD and the Greentown Research Team.

Prof Sean Redmond was invited to present a keynote speech at the Annual Prosecutors Conference in Dublin Castle on the 25th of November 2017

In April 2017, the REPPP research team successfully organised a conference entitled Perspectives on Hidden Victims. Findings of Three New Innovative Studies, that attracted over 100 delegates from practice and academia. Dr Sean Redmond outlined the study’s objectives, the limitations of the extant knowledge on children’s involvement in adult criminal networks, key research findings, and policy implications arising from the Greentown study. The paper also outlined important work being undertaken by the School of Law in 2017 to replicate and broaden the original Greentown study to gauge the generalisability of findings and assist in the design of new interventions. You can watch a recording of this conference below.

Bail Supervision for Children

Bail Supervision for Children

The REPPP project were delighted to host an Open Information Session on the new Bail Supervision programme for children.  Fiona Murphy , Manager Bail Supervision Service, Extern, Dublin gave a fascinating presentation on this innovative programme on the 12th of February 2018.  Fiona outlined the background to the programme,  and ts operations to date. The presentation was followed by a discussion.


Ireland has a relatively low use of detention for children. However, children on remand, that is, either awaiting trial or sentence, have continued to account for between 20-30 per cent of the detention population at any one time. While there are a now a range of non-custodial measures available for children who are convicted, problems arise in that the options for children pre-trial or pre-sentence are limited simply to ‘bail’ or ‘no bail’. Multi-Systemic Therapy [MST] (an evidence based programme from the United States), has been tested extensively in child welfare and some youth justice settings in a large number of jurisdictions. In 2016 an innovative programme was designed and piloted in Dublin as a new ‘bail supervision programme’ incorporating MST. This programme offers elevated levels of support and supervision for children who would be ordinarily remanded to detention. The strategic intention is that with such a programme the demand for detention for children will be further reduced.

Presentation Hosted by DCYA and IYJS

On the 21st March, 8 of the schools’ final year students, Sarah Loughran, Alison Kiely, Shane O’Reilly, Lauren Derwin, Katie Tyrrell, Pamela Gubbins, Una Walsh and John Dunne, presented their work on Legal and Policy Instruments to Protect Children from Adult’s Grooming for Crime, at a meeting hosted by Secretary-General Dr Fergal Lynch and Michelle Shannon, Director of Irish Youth Justice Services at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. As part of their Advanced Lawerying module, the students used their learning over their degree course to produce a policy document that evaluated legislative and policy instruments employed in various jurisdictions to tackle the global problem of adults grooming children for crime. Specifically, the instruments were being examined to check their utility in relation to the problems presented by the Greentown study. The students’ work was part of the REPPP project and was supervised by Prof. Sean Redmond, Dr Eimear Spain and Dr Catherine Naughton. The students’ research was timely in the light of both the recent publication of Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Geoffrey Shannon’s annual report, which recommended the introduction of legislation to prosecute adults who groom children to commit crimes, and the introduction of the Criminal Law (Recruitment of Children to Engage in Criminal Activity) Bill 2018 to the Oireachtas by Deputy Anne Rabbitte. The students received very positive feedback from officials. Dr Fergal Lynch stated that it was ‘a hugely enjoyable presentation’. Officials commented favourably on the succinctness and precision of the inputs – 8 analyses presented in 20 minutes.

Youth Work Ireland Meeting

The Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice project (REPPP) in the School of Law host recent meeting of Youth Work Ireland CEO’s. This youth justice focused sub group have engaged the REPPP project to consult on best practice and developments in the area. Youth Work Ireland and their affiliated services, for example Limerick Youth Service, manage a large number of Garda Youth Diversion Projects around the country.

The development of an intervention programme for children caught up in criminal networks

The Greentown research project is an initiative of the Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice (REPPP) project located in the School of Law. It consists of Principal Investigator Prof Sean Redmond and researchers Eoin O’Meara Daly, John Reddy and Dr Catherine Naughton. The initial Greentown study of how locally based criminal networks influence youth offending has been used to inform a series of innovative expert workshops. This deliberative process was chaired by Dr Sean Redmond and set over 3 workshop events, with the final workshop culminating in a 2-day event on the 12th and 13th of December. The process aims to develop a new and effective response to the problem of children’s engagement with local criminal networks. A range of national and international experts in the areas of programme design, child welfare, law enforcement and criminal networks were recruited in order to identify missing evidence gaps, propose solutions and to assist directly in the development of a programme to:

a)            Reduce the influence of criminal networks on child offending; and

b)            Improve pro-social outcomes for children involved in criminal networks.

In the final 2 day workshop the emerging solutions and programme proposals were stressed tested by critical examination of expert peers and by using a novel ‘Dragons Den’ style approach. The Greentown team wishes to acknowledge and thank the voluntary contribution of all experts and the support of the School of Law, ITD and all University staff involved.

Greentown Report - Scottish Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice

The Greentown Report undertaken by the Prof Sean Redmond, PI of the REPPP project in the School of Law, was the featured research in the recently published report by the Scottish Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice. One of the key findings in the Greentown Study was the negative impact of criminal networks on young people’s prolonged and more serious offending in Ireland. The high relevance of the Greentown study in this current report indicates the potential impact of the REPPP project work on children and organised crime beyond Ireland.

The original report can be accessed here

The CYCJ report can be accessed here

Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice

‘Dr Sean Redmond, School of Law presenting to an invited audience at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Sean was speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice in Scotland about the Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice [REPPP] project and the REPPP team’s research into children’s involvement with crime networks’.

Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service Conference

The Research into Evidence Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice project (REPPP) Project located in the School of Law were delighted to be represented by John Reddy and Deirdre Fullerton at the 5th Annual Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) conference held in Dublin Castle on the 14th of June. The event was attended by 150 delegates from Government  Departments, academia and research insitutions, and was closed by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe. John and Deirdre’s presentation ‘Looking outwards and inwards - Two examples of assembling evidence to inform Irish youth justice policy and practice’, the sole non-governmental presentation, was well received. 

North South Criminology Conference,

UCD Dublin

6th -7th of September

The REPPP team was delighted to host a panel at the North South Criminology Conference on the 6th of September in UCD. The team of Dr Sean Redmond, John Reddy, Deirdre Fullerton and Dr Catherine Naughton presented on four current Policy led research projects. Brendan Sheehy from the Irish Youth Justice Service introduced the panel, he outlined the benefits of this innovative government/academic partnership to delivering a rational approach to youth crime policy, programmes and practice in Ireland. John Reddy presented his work on the ‘Data Utility Study’ which examines the value of routine data collected in the Irish Youth Justice System in terms of indicating effectiveness and the important factors which influence and shape data collection processes. Deirdre Fullerton presented her work on the ‘Relationship Study, a systematic review to identify features of effective relationships between youth professionals and young people. Catherine Naughton presented on the ‘Bail Supervision Scheme (BSS) Evaluation’ which combines experimental and realist designs to evaluate the contribution of the BSS pilot programme in the reduction of remand to detention for children and improvements in their bail compliance. Finally Sean Redmond presented on the ‘Greentown Project’, which investigates the influence that criminal networks have on children’s offending behaviour in Ireland. Primary research provides evidence to inform an Intervention Programme Design.

The School of Law was also represented at the North South Conference by Prof Shane Killcommins, Dr Johnny Connolly, Dr Norah Burns and Dr Eoin Guilfoyle

Visit from the Centre for Youth  and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) Scotland

Fiona Dyer, Deputy Director CYCJ Scotland, Prof Ray Friel, Director of Research, School of Law, UL and Nina Vaswani, Head of Research, CYCJ Scotland

Wednesday the 4th of October saw the visit of Fiona Dyer, Deputy Director CYCJ Scotland, and Nina Vaswani, Head of Research, CYCJ Scotland to the School of Law for collaborative discussion with the REPPP team.  CYCJ Scotland is located in the University of Strathclyde and funded by the Scottish Government. They undertake research to inform youth justice policy and practice, work directly with practitioners and policy-makers in developing, supporting and coordination activities and support the sharing and dissemination of knowledge in the area of youth justice.

Productive discussions took place which included the adaptability of Greentown methodology and engaging with practitioners to develop practice based knowledge. The REPPP team look forward to working with CYCJ Scotland in the future on a number of agreed projects.

Greentown Programme Design Probation Consultation October 2018

The Greentown programme design implementation consultations reach their final stages with management and front line staff from the Probation service hosted by the School of Law’s Dr Sean Redmond and Eoin O Meara Daly, REPPP project. This innovative and original approach to stress testing was a cog in the wheel of a new evidence informed programme for young people caught up in serious crime. It follows on from the original Greentown Study (Redmond, 2015) and the replication case studies by Eoin O Meara Daly and Dr Catherine Naughton that are nearing completion.

ACJRD 21st Annual Conference 2018

Unlocking the Power of Data for Criminal Justice Research, Policy-Making and Practice”.

October 5th 2018

Adj Professor Sean Redmond presented at the 21st annual Associatoin for Criminal Justice Research and Development Conference on the 5th of October 2018. Sean paper ‘The Contribution of Scientific Evidence to Youth Justice Reform in Ireland: Balancing Precision with Momentum’ contributed to the conference theme of unlocking criminal justice data to provide evidence-based research to inform policy and practice.

Hidden Victims, School of Law, UL YouTube video


The first two Greentown project events have been held at the University of Limerick on the 15th June and 4th September, 2017 with another two-day workshop on the 12th and 13thDecember, 2017. The workshops aim to combine knowledge from experts, both on the ground and in academia, to inform an intervention for children involved in prolific offending in criminal networks

Youth Crime Policy - Roundtable Event

How can we use research and other evidence to better inform youth crime policy decision-making?’ Roundtable event organised by the School of Law 24th January 2017 in Plassey House. This event was an expert consultation to examine the issues involved in evidence informed policy making in the area of youth crime and identify potential solutions.

The event involved academics from the School of Law; Departments of Sociology, Public Administration, Education, Psychology; Library Services; officials from the Departments of Justice and Equality and Children and Youth Affairs and Foroige, the national youth organisation.    

The input from this group will be used to inform a model of evidence review being developed by the School of Law Research Evidence into Policy, programmes and Practice (REPPP) project for application in the youth crime policy making process.

Greentown Program Design Workshop

The first of three Greentown Program Design workshops took place on the 15th of June here in UL. The workshops aim to combine knowledge from experts both on the ground and in academia to inform an intervention for children involved in prolific offending in criminal networks.

Catherine Naughton recent article in the Irish Times 

Please see link below for details on this article;

Catherine Naughton recent article in the Irish Examiner "Psychological side of abuse affects kids more"

Please see link below for details on this article;

Greentown Study starts new phase

The School of Law welcomes Catherine Naughton and Eoin O’Meara-Daly who will be undertaking the next phase of the Greentown study. This important study investigates the role of criminal networks in influencing children’s offending behaviour. Over 2017 Catherine and Eoin will be researching whether the original Greentown findings are present more widely in communities in Ireland. The study will also be working with international experts to identify programme solutions. 

Researchers wanted (x2) Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice Project

We are currently advertising in the Irish Times for 2 researchers for the Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice Project.

Please see advert here

Minister’s Visit and launch of the Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice (REPPP) programme

The School of Law was delighted to host Minister Katherine Zappone T.D. who launched  the Research Evidence into Policy, Programmes and Practice (REPPP) programme at the University of Limerick on the 15th September. The visit took the form of a boardroom-type meeting with senior university staff, faculty staff and officials from DCYA and Department of Justice.  At the meeting the Minister was briefed on intended activities for the programme. The Minister also had the opportunity to ask questions and share her own thoughts about the REPPP programme.  Government officials in attendance included Michelle Shannon, Director Youth Justice, Adoption Policy and Legal Division, Paddy Duffy Youth Crime Policy and Programmes Division, Irish Youth Justice Service, and Dr Sean Redmond (seconded from DCYA to the Law School, University of Limerick) who will act as REPPP Programme Lead. The School staff involved in the programme are Dr Eimear Spain, Dr Susan Leahy, Dr Kathryn O'Sullivan, Dr Lydia Bracken, Dr Ger Coffey, Dr Andrea Ryan and Dr John Lombard. Ray Friel and Professor Shane Kilcommins will coordinate the project. 

A link to the speech of Minister Katherine Zappone T.D. at the launch is provide below