Meet Sonya Keniry, the coordinator of the fledging Dublin North Inner City Local Community Safety Partnership.
Sonya is new to the role which is based out of Dublin City Council. Full of enthusiasm, she jokes that she’s literally just got her new email address and telephone number. With positivity, she brings with her a wealth of experience working with people, in mediation, alternative dispute resolution and conflict coach and peer-to-peer mediation coaching.
As a mature student she undertook a degree in law at Trinity College. From there she was attracted into community law. As the project officer for the Ballymun Community Law Centre, Sonya developed mediation opportunities for neighbours to resolve issues as an alternative to taking legal action.
She turned her hand to youth work which resulted in a peer mediation programme with local primary and secondary schools in Ballymun. “Students were taught skills to resolve their own difficulties on a peer-to-peer basis in a language that they could understand and increase their capacity to manage difficult situations” says Sonya. She recalls setting up a law club for students to look at the Irish legal and criminal justice system, “It was designed to help students disengage from situations in the community, as they escalated, because they had an increased understanding of the possible legal consequences”.
She sees her new role as supportive, “I am hoping to engage the community from the outset and to hear what they think are appropriate issues or beneficial projects to work on. We have had huge traction with all the local statutory services who want this to be a success and to work in collaboration with the community. We’ll help people navigate through difficult situations or to help them engage with the relevant statutory agency like the Gardaí about the issues they’re experiencing”. The elderly often feel vulnerable and at risk, “Even as I get older, I feel more conscious about my own personal safety. Perception of safety for the elderly is as important as their actual safety”.
She adds, “The partnership is about supporting residents and visitors to the north inner city enjoy all the facilities and activities without being worried about their own safety”. Sonya wants to empower people to “continue to engage positively in their community” and by doing so, accurately reflect their area.
How to Get in Touch
T. 01 222 6551 or [email protected]