I certainly cannot claim to be an expert on Northern Ireland or Community Restorative Justice Ireland, here is my best overview.
Northern Ireland is the northeastern piece of the island of Ireland, but it is a region in the United Kingdom, rather than the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland has a complex history of political conflict and violence. The most intense violence was during the period in the latter decades of the twentieth century known as “the Troubles.” The main conflict was between the Catholic Nationalist or Republican minority who felt Northern Ireland should be part of Ireland, and the mainly Protestant Unionist (Loyalist) majority who wanted the region to remain in the UK. The violence has greatly decreased following the 1998 Belfast Good Friday Agreement which established a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, but sporadic acts of sectarian violence continue even flaring up today. Even as progress is made, most residential communities are still segregated between the two populations. This is visible in many parts of Belfast that I have seen, though not so much around where I am living near Queens University and the City Centre.
I must express too that Northern Ireland is a beautiful place and Belfast a wonderful, fun, lively city. Though I have been studying the Troubles and continuing conflict, tension and social unrest, I have not found by experience of Belfast to be defined by these issues. I have been welcomed with open arms and wholehearted friendliness from everyone I’ve met.
Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) offers free, confidential and safe mediation services available to anyone who seeks them. In addition to mediations, CRJI provides a range of services to empower people to resolve issues impacting their quality of life. CRJI offers advice, mediation services, mentoring and education in the areas of victim support, drugs and alcohol, suicide intervention, anti-social behavior, reintegration, family support and more. CRJI has also built crucial partnerships with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Social Services, the Housing Executive, and other statutory agencies, as well as many community organizations. CRJI became an accredited organization with the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland in 2007, an groundbreaking accomplishment for a community-based justice organization.
CRJI website: http://crji.ie/
CRJI twitter feed: https://twitter.com/CRJIcentral