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Platforms for a restorative society in Northern Ireland

December 6, 2009

This text argues that promoting restorative
practices – through actions that remedy wrongs, actions that bring people who
have been estranged into relationships, new ways of working and new structural
arrangements – is a practical way of building platforms of reconciliation
practice and a restorative culture in daily life in Northern Ireland.

Restorative practice is applicable across the spectrum of voluntary involvements, faith and trade
union organisations, political, civic and public life as well as with those
working within the legally compliant worlds of the criminal justice system. It
has relational, structural, policy and legally driven dimensions; each of which
needs to be promoted to ensure this theme becomes a central societal task.

A restorative
society could integrate many previously distinct and important activities
across ages and sectors. Common cause can be made between actions that enable
children and young people to resolve their difficulties and those that see
responsible adults promoting and securing cultures that stand against bullying
and scapegoating in family and care settings, learning institutions, voluntary
organisations and workplaces.

The relevance of existing and developing practice that
restores relationships and gives different people their equal and valued place
also has importance for public and civic life in Great Britain, the Republic of
Ireland and elsewhere.

This text invites people to locate their own
practice as one contributory element in a wider landscape of restorative practices,
in the hope that a new restorative culture develops to underpin the task of
reconciliation. This requires a society that is committed to learning from its
long history of enmity and its most recent history of violence to develop
better uses for the talents and energies of all its people.

Read the concept paper.


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