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Minister announces new qualification programme at the University of Limerick

Mon, 09 May 2022

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD this week announced the launch of a new qualification programme at the University of Limerick to train Intermediaries who will help vulnerable people, including sexual abuse victims and children, when giving evidence in the justice system. This a big milestone in delivering on the Implementation of Supporting a Victim’s Journey, the implementation plan for the O’Malley Review, where recommendations were made around making available a panel of registered, qualified intermediaries to work with vulnerable victims in sexual assault cases. The Professional Diploma in Intermediary Studies is a part-time course run over one year. On successful completion of this programme, graduates will be eligible to be placed on a panel from which the courts, to work within the Irish justice system. The Registered Intermediary’s role will be to assist in the communication process, whether between lawyers and witnesses during trial or, earlier, during Garda interviews. Minister McEntee said, “The introduction of a new programme for intermediaries is a key action in Supporting a Victim’s Journey, my plan to create a more victim focussed criminal justice system. It outlines reforms to protect victims of sexual violence during the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, and committed that appropriately qualified intermediaries should be recruited and registered. “I’m delighted that my Department has been able to collaborate with the University of Limerick to provide a suitable course to train intermediaries to the required standard. “Once qualified, they will have an essential role in assessing the communication needs of vulnerable witnesses and to advise An Garda Síochána, advocates and the court on the steps needed to assist such witnesses to give their best evidence.” The diploma is a postgraduate training programme which will qualify CORU-registered health and social care practitioners to work as registered intermediaries in the Irish justice system. The project team who designed the programme include Dr Alan Cusack and Professor Sean Redmond from the School of Law, and Dr Aoife Gallagher and Dr Aine Kearns from Allied Health. Congratulations to Alan and Sean – outstanding leadership in developing such an excellent programme.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD