Attending the inaugural Autumn Criminology School in Blackwater Castle, Castletownroche were Prof Kristel Beyens Department of Criminology, Free University Brussels; Gerry McNally Probation Service, Department of Justice and Dr Niamh Maguire, lecturer in Criminology, Waterford Institute of Technology. (Pic: Gerard McCarthy)

Castletownroche hosted some of the top minds in criminology in the UK and Ireland from September 25-30 at a Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Irish Research Council held event.

Ireland’s first Autumn Criminology School involved 21 doctoral researchers and was led by highly esteemed Irish and European criminologists at Blackwater Castle, Castletownroche, with additional input from key policy makers.

Dr Niamh Maguire, Lecturer in Criminology at WIT’s School of Humanities, was awarded €9,300 under the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations Scheme, to hold Ireland’s first ever Autumn Criminology School for doctoral researchers. She explained the need for such an event: “A key aim of the School is to foster an understanding of the importance of creating and sustaining links between criminological research and social policy by providing a forum for policy makers and researchers to meet and discuss common priorities. Senior policy makers in the criminal justice system will also advise participants on strategies to increase the impact of their research on policy.”

Irish criminology has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2006, WIT was the first to establish an undergraduate degree in criminal justice studies in Ireland. Ireland now has a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in criminology as well as several criminal justice research centres at a variety of third level institutions.



Dr Maguire continued, “Despite these developments, the multi-disciplinary nature of criminology means that it often straddles the boundaries between disciplines (including law, psychology, sociology and history) and so at times it can be difficult to sustain a coherent integrated criminological conversation at a national level. This is particularly the case in Ireland where the key spaces in which criminological knowledge exchange, theory testing and methodological debates typically take place remain underdeveloped.

“The Autumn Criminology School for Doctoral Researchers aims to address these gaps by bringing together PhD researchers, with early and advanced career researchers to engage in knowledge exchange, theory testing and methodological debates as well networking, learning and career development,” concluded Dr Maguire.

The event, led by WIT, involved the participation of criminologists from a variety of third level institutions including WIT, UCC, UCD, DCD, QUB, UL, DIT, NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway. The school also showcased the work of international leaders in criminology.