( l to r) Edel Poole, Noel Carney, Karen Baker of Newbridge Law Centre
Three staff members from Newbridge Law Centre were recently honoured for their service of more than 20 years with the Legal Aid Board.
Noel Kearney, Karen Barker and Edel Poole received their awards at an event in Dublin to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Legal Aid Board (LAB).
Established in 1979, LAB provides legal advice and representation to people with limited means.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration, CEO, John McDaid said the occasion of its 40th anniversary was an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of all of those who have been instrumental in our achievements over the past four decades and those who continue to do so on a daily basis. “Some of our staff have served with us for over 20 years, such as Noel, Karen and Edel. We are delighted that some of those involved in the establishment of the Legal Aid Board were honoured at our anniversary celebration.”
The Legal Aid Board (LAB) was established following the recommendations of a government-established Committee, the Pringle Committee, and also the influential Airey v Ireland case, which saw Johanna Airey take Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights. It currently employs 470 staff in 33 law centres, 16 family mediation offices and its Head Office.
Since its foundation, it has provided legal assistance to over 595,000 people. In 2016, it introduced the Abhaile, which helps people struggling to pay their debts or at risk of losing their homes.
Mr McDaid said that as Irish society has changed, so too has the Board’s work. “This has been reflected in the expansion of our service provision to include support for asylum-seekers and refugees; the Abhaile scheme, which provides legal assistance for people at risk of losing their family home because of mortgage arrears; and the family mediation services, with 16 family mediation centres nationwide.
The legal services provided by the Board are subject in most cases to the applicant paying a financial contribution and they are not ‘free’. The contribution for legal advice is assessed on the applicant’s disposable income. The minimum contribution is €30 for legal advice and €130 for legal aid. A waiver of the contribution may be granted in certain circumstances. Further information is available at: www.legalaidboard.ie.