FLAC attends Seanad Public Consultation Committee on Travellers
9 July 2019
The Seanad Public Consultation Committee on Travellers, “Towards a more equitable Ireland post recognition”, will hear today from legal rights group FLAC, who made a number of recommendations based on FLAC’s experience of the JUSTROM programme, a Council of Europe pilot programme aimed at promoting equality of opportunity and anti-discrimination for Roma and Traveller women.
In its opening statement to the Committee, FLAC expressed its concern at the level and extent of unmet legal need that Travellers experience across a number of areas, particularly regarding access to Traveller-specific housing, standards of accommodation, evictions and discrimination in access to good and services (including licensed premises).
FLAC recommended critical amendments to the Civil Legal Aid and Equal Status Acts, as well as immediate review and update of the Guidelines published in 1998 regarding the design and delivery of Traveller Accommodation. It also recommended amending the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 to include transient, temporary and permanent halting sites and that the Defamation Act 2009 should be reviewed in tandem with the ongoing review of the Prohibition of Incitement To Hatred Act 1989, so as to ensure an accessible civil remedy for hate speech.
At the Committee hearing Eilis Barry, FLAC Chief Executive, said that.
“Access to justice is integral and essential for social inclusion. Rights are only effective if they can be enforced. However there is no legal aid for discrimination claims before the Workplace Relations Commission, no matter how complex or important the issue is, how little resources the potential complainant has and irrespective of the capacity of the individual to represent him or herself.”
She called on the Minister to take the necessary steps to designate the Workplace Relations Commission as a body in respect of whom the Legal Aid Board may provide legal aid. She added that it was also important that there was clarity about entitlement to legal aid in housing and eviction cases. FLAC had drafted and furnished to the Minister an amendment to the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 which would clarify the entitlement to legal aid.
A copy of FLAC's opening statement can be obtained here
A copy of FLAC’s submission can be obtained here
Conall Cahill, FLAC Communications Assistant
01-887 3600 / 086 272 6142 Email: email@example.com
Notes for Editors:
About FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres):
- FLAC is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
- FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250) and free legal advice through its network of volunteer evening advice centres – more at www.flac.ie/help/.
- FLAC is an Independent Law Centre that takes on cases where this is in the public interest. FLAC also campaigns on a range of issues, including consumer credit, personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid. FLAC operates the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) which seeks to engage the legal community and civil society in using the law to advance social change.