Who we are
Peter Ward - Chairperson
Peter Ward is Chairperson of FLAC, and is a Senior Counsel with a particular interest in employment law, public law and human rights law in general. He has been a member of FLAC for 35 years, since becoming involved with the organisation as a law student. Peter was formerly Research Scholar at University College Dublin, Lecturer in Law at University College Cork and a member of the executive of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. He is Chairperson of the O’Devaney Gardens Regeneration Board and Chairperson of the Employment Bar Association of Ireland.
Don Crewe - Council member
A UCC graduate, Don Crewe qualified as a Solicitor in 1986 and joined Cork-based legal firm Patrick Buckley & Co in 1988. He advises on all areas of conveyancing, representing both corporate and private clients in the acquisition, financing, development and disposal of commercial and residential property. Don also has particular expertise in licensing law with over 20 years’ experience in this area. He joined the national council of FLAC in 1989, and has been involved with the board ever since. Don is an Accreditied Commercial Mediator and sits on the National Council of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC). He is also a member of the Southern Law Association.
Jo Kenny - Council member
Jo Kenny is a dual-qualified lawyer who works as an investigator at the Office of the Information Commissioner. Jo was the inaugural legal officer at PILA, where she played an instrumental role in establishing its pro bono referral scheme and authored the report "The Costs Barrier & Protective Costs Orders". Jo has previously worked at the Pensions Authority, Arthur Cox Solicitors and the UK Department for Work and Pensions. She has volunteered with FLAC, Crosscare, the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and the UK Citizens' Advice Bureau.
Julie Herlihy - Council member
A DCU graduate, Julie Herlihy is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor AITI. She was Chairman of the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society 2008-2009, during which time Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice (CAVA), a service where volunteer Chartered Accountants provide advice and assistance on personal finance and debt issues, was set up. Julie Herlihy is an Institute of Chartered Accountants Council Member who serves on the Taxation Committee and the Oversight Board. She joined FLAC Council in November 2013. Julie has lectured extensively and written articles for the Institute and the Irish Taxation Institute.
Joanne Hyde - Council member
Joanne is a Partner with Eversheds Solicitors in Dublin, and is also Head of the firm's Employment Law Department. She worked as an in-house employment lawyer for the computer giant, Intel Corporation until 2007, when she re-joined private practice with Eversheds. She specialises in HR, employment and industrial relations law. Joanne is also the partner in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility at Eversheds, where she oversees services such as pro bono work. Having initially been a volunteer in one of FLAC's legal advice clinics, Joanne had also previously been a member of FLAC Council and rejoined it in 2012.
Eilis Barry - Chief Executive
Prior to joining FLAC, Eilis was a barrister specialising in all aspects of employment law, anti-discrimination and equality. She was the legal adviser of the Equality Authority and head of its legal section from 2000 to 2009, when she resumed practice at the bar.
A former board member and Chairperson of FLAC, Eilis drafted Case Law Review of Mental Health in the Workplace and authored Equality How?, a guide to taking cases under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2008 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2008. She is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars on employment and equality law. She is co-editor of ‘Equality in Diversity, the New Equality Directives’, ICEL No. 29, and former editor of the Employment Law Reports.”
Catherine Hickey - Director of Funding and Development
Catherine Hickey has been working in senior management roles in FLAC since February 2000. Prior to joining FLAC, she was Director of MDI (Muscular Dystrophy Ireland) for 10 years. She is a Director of Ballymun Community Law Centre and is a member of Limerick Community Law and Mediation Centre's advisory board. Catherine has also been a board member and Company Secretary at Dublin City Centre Citizens Service since 2011 and was a director of the Wheel from 2005-2014. She graduated with Social Science and Master of Business Studies Degrees from UCD and obtained a Barrister at Law Degree from the King’s Inns in 1997. She is a recent graduate of the Common Purpose Meridian Programme.
Paul Joyce - Senior Policy Analyst
Paul Joyce BCL, BL is Senior Policy Analyst with FLAC. Paul has worked for FLAC since November 1991. He qualified as a barrister in 1984. His areas of responsibility include debt and consumer credit law and legal aid campaigning. Paul is the author of both FLAC reports on debt and the legal system in Ireland, An End based on Means? published in May 2003 and To No One’s Credit published in July 2009, as well as numerous policy submissions.He also has considerable expertise in the area of employment rights. He is a former member of the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Council and served as a member of the Cooney Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt in 2010.
Sinead Lucey - Managing Solicitor
Sinead studied law in UCC before going on to do a Masters in International Law in the UK. She returned to Ireland where she qualified as a solicitor in 2000. Sinead then took up a position in the national Traveller rights group, the Irish Traveller Movement, in 2003. She then went on to do further work with the Equality Authority and also provided legal representation before Mental Health Tribunals to individuals involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act 2001. In 2008 Sinead joined the Irish Human Rights Commission as Senior Inquiry and Legal Officer, eventually becoming part of the newly formed Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission before joining FLAC in 2016.
Emer Butler - Executive Officer
Emer Butler is FLAC’s Executive Officer with responsibilities across a wide range of areas including funding, reporting, governance, risk management and event management. Emer has a BSc (hons) degree from UCD in Psychology and prior to joining FLAC in June 2010 she worked with Prospectus Strategy Consultants as a Senior Consultant. She has completed an internship with Irish Aid, and spent two years working as Volunteer Programme Manager with Suas Educational Development, where she was responsible for the management of the overseas volunteer programme.
Ciarán Finlay - Legal & Policy Officer
Ciarán holds a BCL (Law with History) and a LLM in Human Rights Law from UCD. His dissertation analysed how the European Court of Human Rights treats alleged cases of violent hate crimes. Ciarán has carried out work for a variety of human rights organisations including UNHCR Ireland, Amnesty International, the Children’s Rights Alliance and the former Irish Human Rights Commission. He has also undertaken voluntary work in Zambia. Prior to joining FLAC, Ciarán worked as a Human Rights Attaché with the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva where his responsibilities centred on UN treaty body reviews, general sessions of the Human Rights Council and examinations under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
Yvonne Woods - Communications Manager
Yvonne joined FLAC first as a volunteer and then as a staff member in 2003. A graduate of Applied Languages in Dublin City University, she worked abroad for a number of years with international student NGOs in Prague and Vienna and as Copy Editor with a Czech wire press agency. On returning to Ireland she worked with SIPTU national trade union and in University College Dublin. Yvonne holds an MSc in Equality Studies and has been involved in a number of NGOs as a volunteer, including the Equality & Rights Alliance where she is a member of the Steering Committee and the Child Care Law Reporting Project as part of its Oversight Committee.
Zsé Varga - Volunteer & Centres Manager
Zsé joined FLAC in 2010 and is responsible for recruiting, supporting and managing the Dublin and Cork volunteers, and supporting the Citizens Information Centres in managing their FLAC volunteers. Zsé has worked extensively in volunteer management roles in Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland. She worked as a Training and Network Manager in the National Volunteer Centre, Hungary (Önkéntes Központ Alapítvány) and later as Training and Consultancy Manager in Volunteering Ireland. She is a member of the Dublin Volunteer Managers Network Forum since its establishment in 2013 and sat on the board of the Le Chéile Mentoring Project as well as DIT’s Community Based Learning Initiative’s Steering Committee.
Jacqueline Heffernan - Information Line Co-ordinator
Jacqueline Heffernan qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and worked for a number of years in private practice. She joined FLAC in 2004 and works as the Information Line Co-ordinator, where she oversees the running of FLAC's telephone information line. Through the telephone information line, Jacqueline offers first-stop legal information to callers on a variety of legal issues, including family law, employment law, landlord and tenant law, and wills and probate, as well as providing them with information on other services they may avail of, such as FLAC's free legal advice clinics.
Lorraine Walsh - Volunteer & Centres Administrator
Lorraine Walsh joined FLAC as the Volunteer and Centres Intern, beforing joining the staff as Volunteer and Centres Administrator. WIth a diploma in Legal Studies from Dublin Institute of Technology as well as two other dipomas in the areas of Employment Law and mediation, her role in FLAC involves assisting with the everyday running of the centres in Dublin and Cork. This includes drawing up rotas, coordinating events, assisting with the recruitment of volunteers and helping the Volunteer Manager to ensure that volunteers are well supported in their roles.
Gillian Kernan - Research Officer
Gillian started in FLAC as an intern in 2007 and joined the staff in 2008 as Research Officer. She is a graduate of UCD, and holds a B.A (hons) in Economics and Geography, a Master in Economics, and a M.Sc. in Housing Policy focusing on the provision of affordable housing in Ireland. After graduating, Gillian completed an internship with UN Habitat in New York where she advanced her interest in Human Rights. In FLAC she is responsible for quantitative research conducted through analysing data collected from the FLAC centres and FLAC's telephone information line, which provides up-to-date statistics on the key areas of FLAC's work.
Rachel Power - PILA Co-ordinator
Rachel is a solicitor who qualified with Eversheds in Dublin before moving to the Irish Human Rights Commission. Rachel subsequently helped establish Irish Rule of Law International as a joint charity of the Law Society of Ireland and Bar Council of Ireland seeking to promote the rule of law in developing countries. There she managed a range of projects in countries throughout Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia that varied in focus from human rights to commercial law, and in application from training of judiciary and lawyers to access to justice at a grassroots level and clinical legal education for law students.
Eithne Lynch - PILA Legal Officer
Eithne Lynch holds a Bachelor of Law Degree (BCL) and Masters of Law (LLM) from University College Dublin. Eithne qualified as a solicitor in 2007 and practised for a number of years in the Litigation Department of leading Irish law firm Matheson. Since leaving private practice in 2011 Eithne worked on a range of access to justice projects in Southern Africa with Irish Rule of Law International and in 2015 was appointed to their Board of Directors. In her current role as Legal Officer with the Public Interest Law Alliance (a project of FLAC) Eithne is responsible for management of the Pro Bono Referral Scheme operated by the clearinghouse. In addition to managing relationships amongst stakeholders of the Alliance Eithne also undertakes research on barriers to public interest litigation.
Liz Lee - Receptionist & Administrative Assistant
Liz began working at FLAC as an intern in 2014 and joined the staff in 2016 as Receptionist/Administration Assistant. Prior to joining FLAC Liz worked in the civil engineering and corporate sector for fourteen years. Her role in FLAC involves managing the day-to-day reception duties and general administration within the organisation.