Training Programmes

TMS Training Programmes/Workshops January 2021 Update

a) 2019 – 2020 Traveller Mediation & Conflict Training Programme

The third Traveller Mediation & Conflict Training Programme began in September 2019.
The programme was initially based in the Kennedy Institute classrooms in Maynooth University, Co Kildare. The programme was due to be completed by June 2020 but due to COVID19 restrictions the timeline was significantly disrupted.

Part 1 of the programme (the KWETB Level 5 module) was completed on 12th February 2020 with 5 students completing all the assignments successfully.

Part 2 of the programme (the MII accredited Mediation training course, delivered through the Kennedy Institute, Maynooth, and resulting to a national certified mediator qualification) commenced on 26th February

Due to the COVID19 restrictions the programme had to be postponed after 11th March.
The plan of continuing the programme remotely was explored but proved not to be viable. TMS remained in contact with the students on an individual basis through remote meetings and by ‘phone.

The course re-commenced on 9th September and was held in the TMS Offices in Athlone/ online, with 4 students returning. Two students subsequently dropped out.

The course was to be completed on 21st December but one student received a custodial sentence in December before completion. The decision has now been made to complete in January 2021.

b) Prison Peer Mediation Programmes in 2020

Castlerea Prison
• The pilot accredited Mediation Training Programme for prisoners (in partnership with Maynooth and IPS/ETB) has been completed with 8 participants successfully graduating (2 teachers, and 6 prisoners, 4 of whom are Travellers).

• The graduation event was held in Castlerea on 25th February, with the IPS Director General, the Governor, and other senior IPS Staff in attendance. The GRETB Director also attended. The Programme Director from Kennedy Institute Maynooth awarded the certificate to the students.
• The meeting scheduled for March 2020 to review next steps etc had to be postponed because of the Covid19 restrictions.

Midlands Prison
• The Peer Mediation Part 2 programme commenced on 13th January 2020.

• The Peer Mediation Part 2 programme was completed, but the assessments scheduled for March 9th were not able to go ahead because of Covid19 restrictions.

Cork prison
• Peer Mediation training Part 2 programme commenced on 16th January and was completed on 5th March. Four men undertook the assessment test and all four passed successfully.
• The graduation event was held with the Governor present.

Update on the setting up of the Prison Mediation Service in the prison:

• In February two Traveller mediator prisoners and the teacher met with the Governor and Chief. They agreed that the two men would be given permission to visit the protection wing within Cork prison to offer the mediation service to the men, to assess the issues, and to work with some of the men to see if they might be able to move from the protection wing back into the main prison.

• The prison mediators designed the t-shirt below, and, with the assistance of the teacher, the t-shirts have been printed for the mediators.


Loughan House Prison
• The Peer Mediation Part 2 programme began on 6th February 2020.
• The Peer Mediation Part 2 programme was not completed due to inmate transfers impacting the number of participants

Portlaoise Prison
• The Peer Mediation session scheduled for 30th March was not able to proceed due to Covid19 restrictions

Peer Mediation Prison Programmes

• TMS contacted prisons in September about the possibility of resuming PM programmes but this has not been possible because of continuing Covid19 restrictions.

• A UK Prison chaplain contacted TMS to find out more about the Peer Mediation in Prisons Programmes in Ireland, and to discuss the possibility of replicating the programmes there.

• TMS was In contact with prisons in December 2020 and plan to resume PM programmes in early 2021, or to explore running programmes online.

c) Other TMS Training Programmes/ Workshops

• All TMS training scheduled for March/April/May/June/July were postponed because of COVID19 restrictions.

From September until December 2020 the following training-related events took place:

• Networking meeting men in Men’s Shed Tullamore (Offaly) x 3
• Meeting with staff/students in a number of Youthreach Centres in the Midlands in September and October re. the TMS 2021 Traveller Youth Programme.
• Meeting with Dublin City Council Chief Housing Officer to discuss the development of a TMS training module for DCC Housing Dept. staff members
• Training session with Community Services team, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council.
• TMS Presentation to Cork University Social Work department.
• Meetings with College Connect & LOETB to plan the 2021 Traveller Youth programme
• Contacting youth/Youthreach facilities re. College Connects/AIT course for 2021
• Contacting Traveller organisations and holding preliminary discussions about potential training for 2021.

PSNI training:
• Antrim PSNI: TMS ran 2 training sessions for trainee Detectives in PSNI Training College, Steeple, in September and October.

• Omagh PSNI station: TMS ran 3 training sessions for groups of Neighbourhood Police in October.

Irish Prison Service Training College sessions for Recruit Prison Officers:

• The first training input took place on 24th January 2020.

• Training was then cancelled due to COVID19 restrictions until 9th October when the next scheduled TMS training session with IPS Prison Officer Recruits took place.

• A third TMS training session with IPS Prison Officer Recruits took place on 27th November.

Preparation, planning and groundwork laid for two new TMS initiatives in 2021:

• The piloting of an MII Accredited Traveller Mediation Programme for Travellers in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary, in partnership with Maynooth University, to commence in 2021.

• The piloting of a Communications & Conflict Skills training programme for young Travellers in partnership with LOETB and College Connect, AIT, to commence in 2021 .

• Evaluation of the two Pilot Programmes by the end of 2021.