Dr Joe Garrihy speaks at the launch of the Public Sector Innovation Fund 2023

Dr Joe Garrihy
Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 15:30

Minister Ossian Smyth officially launched the Public Sector Innovation Fund 2023 on October 26th, 2022. The event was part of Innovation Week 2022 and was held at The Tangent (Trinity College Dublin).
As Chair of the Unlocking Potential Project, Dr Garrihy was invited to speak as a case study on progressive and innovative projects funded under the Public Sector Innovation Fund (PSIF). Dr Garrihy spoke on the work of the project and its experience of being awarded PSIF 2020 with a particular focus on the impact, scalability and transferability of the project aims and objectives.
The damaging effects of a criminal conviction are profound and well-documented. The life-long stigmatisation experienced by people with convictions restricts access to education, employment, housing etc. and impedes reintegration into society. Unlocking Potential Project sought to address the barriers to accessing and succeeding in Higher Education (HE) for people with criminal convictions.
To do so, the project developed a ‘Fair Admissions Toolkit for HEIs’. The toolkit includes a fair policy template, fair admission principles and GDPR documents to support HEIs to redevelop their admissions policies and practices for people with criminal convictions and aims to foster a common approach to this issue across HE. It is intended that this work will contribute more broadly to recruitment practices, and the employment of people with convictions, across the public and civil service. Resources include a documentary and podcast series featuring student experiences and stakeholder testimonies placing user voices at the heart of the project and reforms.
The project includes the recently launched Kickstart Scholarships by the Probation Serviced supported by the Irish Prison Service, and administered by the Maynooth University Access Programme supporting people with convictions.
Maynooth has an established relationship with the PSIF with the Maynooth University (MU) and Mountjoy (MJ) Partnership, established in 2019 and funded by the PSIF 2019. The MU-MJ Partnership works to address the root causes of reoffending by increasing access to HE for people in prison and those formerly in prison.
Invited speakers to the Public Service event included:

The Unlocking Potential Team

External Partners

  • Irish Prison Service
  • Probation Service
  • Irish Penal Reform Trust
  • The Pathways Centre