Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


5:25 pm

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

My colleague, the Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, has informed the House of the record justice budget for 2023, which prioritises community safety. The future of our communities lies with our young people and I warmly welcome the allocation of €24 million for youth justice, which is an increase of €2.5 million and over 11%. This will have a significant impact on individual young people, their families and their communities.

I cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of youth diversion projects and the services they provide. I have seen first-hand the enormous and often life-changing differences these programmes can have on a young person's life and on the choices they make. In some cases, these youth diversion programmes are a lifeline that could shift a young person from an ill-advised path to a much better one. These programmes provide education. They provide training and employment supports, which can be a valuable second chance for young people who, for many reasons, may not have had an ideal first experience of the education system. They show young people that there are other options and opportunities out there for them. Sports activities and personal development initiatives can offer a new focus and new interests. They can be key in helping vulnerable young people to move away from a pattern of damaging behaviour. My aim under the youth justice strategy is to achieve full coverage of youth justice initiatives across the country so that every young person who might benefit from them can have access to them.

Let me turn briefly to the issue of gambling. We are much closer to ensuring that modern and effective licensing and regulatory measures are in place for the gambling industry in Ireland. Legislation is currently being prepared for publication to ensure that we have safe and fair gambling in Ireland. This is an important social issue and we need to get it right in order that we can reduce the significant harm that happens to vulnerable people as a result of gambling. The establishment of the new authority is a key programme for Government commitment and the additional allocation of €1 million in 2023 brings the total funding to €1.7 million. This will support the CEO designate in the preparations she needs in order that the authority can start its important work as quickly as possible once it is established.

Overall, the record allocation this year for the justice group of Votes gives us the resources we need to progress our programme for Government commitments. I look forward to updating the House as these commitments progress.


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