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On Friday, October 20th an event was held in Midleton to celebrate 25 years of collaboratory work between Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services and An Garda Siochana. Minister David Stanton (Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration) attended the occasion to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mallow Garda Youth Diversion Project and the 15th anniversary of the Cobh Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP).

Recognizing all the work CDYS has achieved with communities, families and young people in the area since 1964, Minister Stanton said: “I would like to commend Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services, their youth workers and volunteers, on all the work they have been doing for young people in my constituency of Cork East for the past 50 years. The Garda Youth Diversion Projects in Cobh and Mallow have been particularly successful and are a win win for all involved – the young people themselves, their families, the Gardai and society as a whole. I am sure that the extension of these services and projects, which is supported by the Irish Youth Justice Service will be just as effective in helping young people in more rural areas.”

The event also saw the launch of an extension to these CDYS projects through the introduction of Mobile Garda Youth Diversion Workers, covering the areas of Charleville and Mitchelstown in north Cork and Midleton and Fermoy in east Cork. Paddy Duffy, representing the Irish Youth Justice Service, was in attendance to support this on-going and additional work of CDYS.

Brian Williams, CEO of Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services, highlighted how the work of CDYS engages and supports many challenging and vulnerable young people and families. Minister Stanton further reiterated the impact of the work of CDYS and the Garda Youth Diversion Projects by saying it can “not only change lives but save lives.”

An Garda Siochana Inspector Aileen Magner spoke of the unique partnership CDYS has with AGS in the division and highlighted the importance of the work of GYDP’s. Inspector Magner thanked CDYS for their dedication to young people and to the Diversion Projects and noted how the extension to these services will be a great support to An Garda Siochana and many vulnerable young people and families in Cork.

The gathering also heard from young people past and present who were supported by CDYS and the Garda Youth Diversion Projects.