New FLAC Chairperson - David Fennelly BL
22 June 2021
FLAC are delighted to announce the new Chairperson of FLAC is David Fennelly BL. David is a practising barrister 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.
Read our short interview with David below.
Tell me about the first time you heard about FLAC
I learnt about FLAC in my first year studying law in college and have been involved in some shape or form ever since – a warning to all those who get involved with the organisation! FLAC and its work has really sustained my interest in law over the years and I have very much enjoyed being involved – whether as a volunteer adviser, as a barrister acting in cases for FLAC clients or more recently as a member of the FLAC Council alongside great colleagues.
What are your goals as Chair as you begin your tenure?
With colleagues on the Council, I hope to build on the great work that’s been done in FLAC in recent years and ensure that FLAC is well placed to face the challenges of the years ahead. The outgoing chair, Peter Ward, has made a huge contribution to FLAC over many years, leaving big shoes to fill! Most of all, I am looking forward to supporting the work of our fantastic staff, volunteers and supporters.
What are the key priorities of FLAC at the present time?
FLAC’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019 served as a valuable reminder of the huge contribution FLAC has made to the Irish legal system and Irish society over the decades. While things have changed radically since 1969, ensuring equal access to justice for all remains a real challenge today. The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift in the legal system and, while this presents opportunities, it also carries with it certain risks when it comes to access to justice. It also means that we need to look at new ways of providing legal information and advice and addressing unmet legal need. More broadly, recent developments in other jurisdictions remind us that we cannot take the rule of law and the role of an independent legal profession and judiciary for granted and FLAC continues to have a valuable role to play in this regard.
The 50th anniversary also brought home the huge contribution of generations of volunteers, supporters and friends. It’s fair to say that FLAC brings out the best in the legal profession. Building this community – particularly with the next generation of lawyers – will also be a key priority for us in FLAC.
David Fennelly BL