County Hall on John Street, Kilkenny
A partnership is being considered between Kilkenny County Council and Ossory Youth for young people to gain valuable work experience as it’s revealed four young Travellers are finding it difficult to get a work placement.
At a Joint Policing Committee meeting last month, members were given a presentation on the Garda Youth Diversion Project carried out in collaboration with Ossory Youth.
Inspector Liam Connolly said the objectives of the project are to carry out targeted interventions to reduce offending and divert people away from crime.
If a juvenile is identified as needing intervention a Youth Referral Committee made up of a Juvenile Liaison Officer, community Gardaí and two youth workers will vet that juvenile’s situation to decide whether he/she will enter the Youth Diversion Project system.
Paul Bolger of Ossory Youth is one of two youth workers on the project.
He said the criteria for a referral includes an individual being known to Gardaí or is deemed to be of a moderate to high risk of offending.
Risk prediction looks at previous criminality, education, peer groups, alcohol/drugs issues and what the youths do in their spare time.
Mr Bolger said: “70% of youths in the project are boys. While 25-30% are from rural areas. We get roughly 15 new entrants every year and roughly 15 leave the project.”
“For some young people, they’ve shut down. Our job is to try and change their attitude.” Most youths exit the project because their risk levels have reduced to a satisfactory point. He added: “We run a successful work experience programme. We’ve four young travellers at the moment who are ready for a real work experience opportunity and we’re finding it hard to place them.”
Cllr Patrick McKee said: “Who better than the local authority to enter into a partnership and identify candidates to give outdoor work to and come to some agreement with Ossory Youth for a pilot project of outdoor work in summer months."
Superintendent Derek Hughes said it was discussed with Kilkenny’s Chamber of Commerce who gave its full support for the initiative and will identify possible venues where the candidates might work. Director of Services at Kilkenny County Council,
Tim Butler, said they “could engage in conversation” on the partnership. Cllr David Kennedy said: “Hopefully the local authority can pitch in.”