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Minister McEntee publishes Justice Plan 2021

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD has today published her Justice Plan 2021, which outlines 240 actions to build a justice system that works for everyone.

The plan is the first of a series of annual plans which the Minister will introduce to drive reforms across the Justice Sector.

Justice Plan 2021 will progress significant work already underway by Minister McEntee and the Department of Justice, including:

  • The full implementation of Supporting a Victim’s Journey, the plan to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases
  • Implementing A Policing Service of the Future to complete An Garda Síochána’s transformation into a world class policing service
  • Establishing a new Family Courts System and reformed court procedures to make the legal system more sensitive to the needs of families
  • The rollout of a new Community Safety Model with a multidisciplinary approach
  • Tougher laws to tackle gangland crime and break the link between gangs and our vulnerable young people

Minister McEntee said,

“Justice Plan 2021 and the actions I will implement this year to begin our programme of reform charts a course for us to build a justice system that works for everyone. This will be an annual process in which we will set out the concrete actions which will be delivered according to strict timelines each year.

As well as ensuring our people are safe and secure, it is our duty in the Department of Justice to provide an equitable and accessible path to justice; to support victims and communities; and to treat those who seek refuge on our shores, or to make a new home for themselves in ours, with respect.

“To support those who rely on us every day in their business, family and community life, or those who need us to respond with compassion and understanding at moments of crisis and difficulty.

“The justice system reaches across many aspects of our lives. We can implement ambitious reforms to build a justice system which contributes to the improvement of society. To build a Justice System That Works for Everyone.”

Justice Plan 2021, and a wider three year Statement of Strategy for the Department of Justice, are built on five key goals. These goals, and some of detailed actions which will be taken under them, are:

  1. Tackle crime, enhance national security and transform policing 
  2. Publish the Policing and Community Safety Bill to overhaul and reform An Garda Síochána and strengthen the powers available to oversight bodies 
  3. Bring fine art dealers under the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit the Department of Justice
  4. Make the internet safer by strengthening notice and takedown powers to ensure swift removal of all forms of illegal content
  5. Provide the investment to increase the strength of An Garda Síochána and put more Gardaí on the frontline
  6. Review existing Garda powers on dangerous weapons, including knives, as part of our plan to look at the health led approach to violence which has been pioneered in Scotland and London

Improve access to justice and modernise the courts system

  • Open up legal education and remove barriers to people becoming solicitors and barristers as part of the Minister’s plan to ensure greater diversity across the justice system
  • Publish a new General Scheme of a Bill to modernise and update Ireland’s licencing laws to support our hospitality and cultural sectors and the night time economy
  • Appoint a CEO of the new Gambling Authority to help prepare the way for a new Regulator with strong enforcement powers
  • Begin detailed work on a new system of guidelines for legal costs to help bring costs down and provide greater transparency on legal fees  

  1. Strengthen community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence 
  2. Publish a new Sexual Offences Bill to strengthen protections for victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence
  3. Broaden the current system of spent convictions to give more people a second chance to get on with their lives
  4. Fully establish a new Parole Board, which will be operational by July 2021
  5. Launch a national information campaign on the meaning of consent, as well as a targeted campaign for higher education 
  6. Deliver a fair immigration system for a digital age
  • Open a new regularisation scheme for thousands of undocumented migrants who have made Ireland their home
  • Publish a new website for immigration services in Ireland, with all content written in plain English

Accelerate innovation, digital transformation and climate action across the justice sector 

  • Implement a Digital First Agenda across the Justice Sector to make services more accessible and efficient for users
  • Publish a Justice Climate Policy Statement setting out how the justice sector will reach its ambitious climate and energy efficient targets, including by the adoption of green public procurement

Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne TD said, 

“The publication of our Justice Plan 2021 charts the reforms we aim to achieve over the coming year. As Minister of State for Law Reform I am focused on implementing positive changes to our justice system that will have the greatest impacts in making our communities safer and improving the lives of our next generation. 

“The justice system plays an important role in the lives of everyone, including our young people. Through our 2021 plan I look forward to publishing the new National Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2026, undertaking a review of knife legislation, advancing gambling legislation, appointing a new Gambling Regulator, re-engaging with the National Rural Safety Forum to protect rural communities and directly supporting communities impacted by anti-social behaviour through the Anti-Social Behaviour Forum.

“We are determined to work closely with communities and ensure that the justice system embraces a ‘whole of community’ approach. Our ambitious reforms this year are for the betterment of the whole country we live in and share.”

Justice Plan 2021 will be the first of a series of annual Justice Plans. The Department of Justice will work with our agencies and partners across the Justice sector to receive feedback and to ensure targets are met.

Each Justice Plan will be updated with new actions and timelines for delivery. 

The Justice Plan 2021 can be found here: Justice Plan 2021

The Department of Justice Statement of Strategy, 2021-2023: Department of Justice Strategy Statement – 2021-2023


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