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Founded in 1998, CRJI aspires to build a tolerant, responsive and inclusive community by providing restorative justice services to local areas. 

Deepening the understanding and reach of Restorative Practice through community building....

STARS launch

Week ending; 18.09.20

Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) are delighted to be leading on the new STARS Project: STRIVING TOWARDS A RESTORATIVE SOCIETY alongside Northern Ireland Alternatives (NIA).

STARS is deliveringa programme of activities that will increase the use of restorative practice in the eight Communities in Transition areas of focus. It isfunded by the Executive Office and managed by Co-operation Ireland.

STARS is operating in:

· Carrick and Larne (with a focus on Northland & Castlemara and Antiville & Kilwaughter) · Derry/ Londonderry (with a focus on Brandywell & Creggan) · North Down (with a focus on Kilcooley & Rathgill) · Lurgan/ Craigavon (with a focus on Drumgask & Kilwilkie) · East Belfast (with a focus on The Mount & Ballymacarrett) · North Belfast (with a focus on New Lodge & Greater Ardoyne) · Shankill (with a focus on Upper & Lower including Woodvale) · West Belfast (with a focus on Lower Falls, Twinbrook, Poleglass, Upper Springfield, Turf Lodge & Ballymurphy)

The above geographical areas were identified through independent research as those under most influence of armed gangs/paramilitary activity, criminality and coercive control. The Communities in Transition Project aims to support those eight identified geographic areas to move to more open and accessible communities where paramilitarism no longer play a role. The STARS initiative aims to build the capacity of individuals and groups to affect positive change for themselves and their communities, through raising awareness of restorative practices and interventions.

Harry Maguire, Director of CRJI, states, “CRJI and NIA are both government accredited restorative organisations, often referred to collectively as Community Based Restorative Justice Schemes. Initially these were developed to address issues of informal policing and thus delivering interventions within vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, in which we challenged violence which was deeply embedded within society. Restorative Justice has evolved as a mechanism for peacebuilding and conflict transformation, STARS has an opportunity to encourage community leadership regionally and explore how restorative practices benefit others and support such growth”.

To celebrate the launch of the STARS project, we are releasing the first episode in the STARS podcast series on the Talking Piece Podcast, available on Soundcloud, Apple and other listening platforms from August. This will be available online or to download from:

In this first episode our host Glenn Millar, discusses with Debbie Watters (NIA codirector), Harry Maguire (CRJI Director), Lucy Geddes (Communities in Transition Manager for Cooperation Ireland), Mark Browne (The Executive Office Director of Strategic Policy, Equality and Good Relations), Andrea McLoughlin (STARS Coordinator) and Karen Maitland (STARS Project Lead), what a restorative society might look like, a context to Communities in Transition, the expectations of what CIT and the STARS could achieve, a background to CRJI and NIA.

Speaking following the first podcast, Mark Browne said “It was a pleasure to be invited to take part in this the first of the STARS series of podcasts. The STARS programme is one of 30 activities funded by the Executive Office, through the Communities in Transition Project and is the first programme to date to be delivered on a regional basis, right across all eight of the CIT areas.

During community engagement, restorative practice emerged as a key theme for intervention. So we are delighted to have CRJI and NI Alternatives on board as our delivery partners for this important element of the Communities in Transition project given their wealth of experience in this area of work.

The STARS programme aims to promote and expand the use of restorative methodologies in each of the CIT areas to address a range of community and personal issues and will have a really positive impact on the issues we are seeking to address.

I am really impressed with how the programme is progressing; in fact, it is oversubscribed in a number of the areas so despite the emergence of COVID-19, the STARS project has got off to a really good start.

We look forward to working closely with CRJI and NI Alternatives in the coming months to see how the various elements of the STARS project come together as we start to come out of lockdown.”

For further information on the project or how to get involved, contact:

Andrea McLoughlin, STARS Project Coordinator

Community Restorative Justice Ireland

27a Colinglen Road


BT17 0LR

T: 02895212133



Karen Maitland, STARS Project Lead

Northern Ireland Alternatives

37 Agnes Street


BT13 1GG

T: 02890311420



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