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.
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.
David Fennelly - Council member
David Fennelly is a practising barrister based in the Law Library, Dublin and Assistant Professor in Law at Trinity College Dublin. David specialises in public law, with a particular interest in EU and international law, including in the fields of human rights and equality. David first became involved with FLAC as a student in Trinity and has served as a volunteer adviser at FLAC's legal advice clinics for many years. David joined FLAC Council in March 2019.
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.In 2014, Paul authored the report Redressing the Imbalance, on the need for more robust rules to govern the provision of consumer credit and complaints mechanisms against financial service providers.
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.
Maureen Gourley - Solicitor
Maureen has an LLB Hons in Law and a Masters in Human Rights, both from Queens University Belfast. She qualified as a solicitor in 1994 in Northern Ireland and was admitted in the Republic of Ireland in 1998. She was research officer in the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights the precursor to the current Human Rights Commission NI. She worked in Brussels for a number of years before returning to Ireland to join FLAC in 1998 as Solicitor, a post she held for four years. She followed this with a period in private practice in a Dublin law firm. More recently she has been employed on a contract basis for independent law centres, Community Law and Mediation Northside and FLAC. She commenced her current contract with FLAC in May 2017.
Christopher Bowes - Legal Officer
Christopher studied Law and Political Science in Trinity College Dublin and is currently enrolled in the Barrister-at-Law degree course in the King’s Inns. He is Editor-in-Chief of the King’s Inns Law Review. In FLAC, he assists the Legal Services Section with their casework and with the administration of the Roma Legal Clinic.
Stephanie Lord - Legal and Policy Officer
Stephanie Lord joined FLAC in 2018 as Legal and Policy Officer. She has a degree in Law from UCD, a Diploma in Housing and Community Studies, and an MSc in Equality Studies from UCD. She previously worked in politics as an adviser for members of Dáil Éireann where she did legislative and policy drafting and conducted research in the areas of justice and equality. She previously specialised in the areas of education, social protection, housing, and children's rights. She has also taught law and politics at third level and in the further education sector. In FLAC Stephanie undertakes research and policy analysis with a focus on Access to Justice, Human Rights, Civil Legal Aid and Social Welfare.
Caroline Smith - Media and Communications Officer
Caroline started in FLAC as an intern in 2016 and joined the staff in 2017 as Media and Communications Assistant. She is a graduate of NUI Maynooth, and holds a B.A (hons) in Media Studies and Business. In FLAC her role is to develop, coordinate, promote and manage the media relations and general communications of the organisation.
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.
Zsé Varga - Volunteer Development Manager
Zsé Varga joined FLAC in 2010. Her role involves building volunteer capacity in FLAC clinics around Ireland through working with local Citizens Information Centres and directly providing support and development opportunities to lawyers who deliver the FLAC clinics. Zsé has worked extensively in the area of volunteer development in Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland. She worked as a Training and Network Programme Manager in the National Volunteer Centre, Hungary 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 at on the board of the Le Chéile Mentoring Project as well as DIT’s Community Based Learning Initiative’s Steering Committee.
Ingrid Colvin - Volunteer & Clinics Coordinator
Ingrid joined FLAC in 2019. Her role involves building volunteer capacity in FLAC clinics in Dublin and Cork, through working with local Citizens Information Centres and directly providing support and development opportunities to lawyers who deliver the FLAC clinics. Ingrid has worked in the community and voluntary sector for over twenty years. She has managed projects in the area of restorative practice, youth justice and the prevention of sexual offending. She is a Restorative Justice practitioner and trainer with a particular interest in the areas of serious crime and sexual violence. She has managed volunteer involving projects and has volunteered herself both locally and internationally as a human rights observer in a conflict zone.
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 & Strategic Development Manager
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 training of judiciary to access to justice at a grassroots level.
Deirdre Malone - PILA Legal Manager
Deirdre was Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust for five years. She holds a degree in law from Trinity College Dublin and in 2005 was called to the Bar of England and Wales in where she worked from Garden Court chambers in the UK; initially purely on criminal defence matters and subsequently in housing, family law, inquests and actions against the police. She also worked for three years in the legal department of Liberty (National Council for Civil Liberties UK), in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Ireland), and as a researcher for the Irish Attorney General.
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. Her role in FLAC involves managing the day-to-day reception duties and general administration within the organisation.