Reflections on Irish Criminology: Conversations with Criminologists, Orla Lynch, Yasmine Ahmed, Helen Russell and Kevin Hosford (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

AuthorMargaret Fitzgerald O'Reilly
PositionUniversity of Limerick
[2021] Irish Judicial Studies Journal Vol 5(2)
Orla Lynch, Yasmine Ahmed, Helen Russell and Kevin
Hosford, Reflections on Irish Criminology:
Conversations with Criminologists (Palgrave Macmillan
2020), xi+167pp. (hardcover), ISBN: 9783030605926
Author: Dr Margaret Fitzgerald O'Reilly, University of Limerick
This book aims to fill a gap in current knowledge by providing the reader with a critical
insight into the origins of criminology as a discipline in Ireland. The authors utilise a key
resource often untapped in research methodology the experience and perspectives of the
criminologists at the centre of the discipline in order to chart the evolution of a fascinating
area of study. From the earlier ad hoc, yet important, rumblings of multi-disciplinary and
inter-disciplinary dialogue, to the establishment of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal
Justice in UCD and beyond, the authors highlight the significance of ‘community’ as a
propelling force in the success and recognition of Irish criminology.
Prolific progress has been made in the past two decades in particular, with significant growth
in criminology modules and programmes in both Northern Ireland and the republic’.
such development has come a greater (if not consistent) appreciation for the value of
criminological expertise amongst state and non-state agencies working in the field of criminal
justice. Of course it is the uniqueness of the Irish historical backdrop which has moulded
much of the approach taken to criminal justice here. As the authors astutely note, ‘[f]orms
of imprisonment, the treatment of women, the role of the church in social censure, the
Troubles and preceding periods of political violence and the dual system of administration
on the island have all contributed to how we think about and write about criminology’.
While history has generated the blueprint, diversity (among academic schools of thought)
has nurtured and cultivated a rich tapestry of research that continues to thrive.
A central feature of this book is the idea that criminology in Ireland is what it is and where
it is because of the people’, a contention with which I would certainly agree.
The book is
divided into eleven chapters. Chapter one contextualises the narrative to come by setting out
the terrain upon which criminology has grown into a recognised discipline in Ireland. The
remaining chapters of the book chart the career paths of some notable Irish researchers in
this area. Each has garnered the attention and admiration of scholars of their discipline for
advancing the field and enhancing our understanding of criminological research. The fact
that these individuals all hail from different disciplines, different academic traditions and
is extremely significant as it emphasises that the Irish approach to criminology is
premised upon inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary collegiality. No one researcher works
alone or in isolation from the influences of others. There is a shared goal and it is this
approach which has allowed criminology in Ireland to flourish as it has.
Orla Lynch, Yasmine Ahmed, Helen Russell and Kevin Hosford, Reflections on Irish Criminology: Conversations
with Criminologists (Palgrave Macmillan 2020) 4.
ibid 5.
ibid 8.

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