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Why Mediation?

Because Mediation Works!

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Mediation is an important tool in the armoury of those who are attempting to resolve disputes, in a mutually satisfactory way. Mediation focuses on the needs of the disputing parties, and can be instrumental in repairing relationships, even in the most fractious disputes.

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What is a Mediator?

A mediator is a facilitator. In an effort to resolve their disputes parties may employ the services of a mediator. The mediator will facilitate the negotiations between the parties, ensuring that each party is heard fully. The mediator can be compared to an orchestra conductor, taking charge of the process, keeping it moving, ensuring that the story emerges, reality checking, being mindful of the power balance.

The mediator then questions the story, clarifies, allows explanations, clarifies perceptions and maintains a respectful atmosphere. The mediator allows the truth to emerge, fears to be voiced, apologies to be made, and facilitates understanding. The mediator encourages each party to see matters from the others’ perspective, fostering empathy and respect.

A facilitative mediator does not impose her view on the parties, does not give advice, and is not concerned with the outcome. The parties are in charge of the outcome, their agreements, and how the agreements will be implemented.

The Mediators Institute of Ireland

In Ireland The Mediators Institute of Ireland is the professional body for mediators. Mediators who progress in their practice can apply to be accredited by the MII. The standards are  high.  Membership of The MII requires maintenance of practice, and training (CPD) during the course of any one year. Details can be found on the website.

Where Does Conflict Happen?

It can be said that all disputes are relational. Conflict arises in many family matters in relation to succession, in separation and divorce and in elder care, among other matters.

The Workplace can be a hotbed of conflict, and a failure to address issues as they arise can have implications for the health and welfare of employees, and the organisation.

Schools can also have their difficulties. Schools are workplaces too, and conflict can have a productive or disruptive effect on teachers, administration staff and relationships with parents and students. There are a number of conflict intervention initiatives in place in many schools in Ireland, from the teaching of Empathy to infant classes, to peer mediation for the higher age groups. Read Quick guide to implementing a peer mediation program here (from the School Mediation website).

However it is equally true of “larger” disputes, such as commercial disputes, or even interstate conflicts. It is more often about the people, and not so much about money – it can be about pride, an apology can often save the day, more of which later.

Mediation and the Law

The Mediation Legislation in Ireland is due for publication by the Irish government during the Autumn session of this current year (2016). The Draft general scheme of the Bill was published in 2012. Successive Ministers of justice have indicated their support for this legislation, however it has been languishing, somewhere!

It is time mediation became central to our thinking, our “go to” when we find ourselves in conflict at home, at work or in any facet of our lives.

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