Remembering Dave Ellis

1 March 2007

Dave Ellis, founder member and driving force behind Community Legal Resource (CLR) and formerly Community Law Officer with Coolock Community Law Centre (now Northside CLC) for over twenty years, died after a short illness on 2 February 2007.

Many tributes have been paid to Dave, not least at his funeral service at the Unitarian Church on Stephen's Green and in a subsequent Irish Times obituary. We would like to put on record the tremendous contribution that Dave made to the work of FLAC itself over a long period of years, both during his time with Coolock and latterly after he set up CLR.

Dave was a priceless resource to a succession of FLAC staff and council members who worked with him on various campaigns and issues during his time at Coolock. His genial personality, allied with his ferocious commitment, set him apart as an example of how to get work done. Whether it was lobbying politicians to improve the scope of the Civil Legal Aid Bill as it went through Select Committee, advising on the finer points of a Social Welfare appeal or composing sections of joint employment rights publications like the Maternity Rights Handbook, Dave could always be relied upon to strike the right note.

It was no surprise to many that after leaving Coolock, Dave turned his long years of community law experience to setting up an innovative project designed to deliver legal and social policy services in the 'not for profit' sector, Community Legal Resource. As was his style, Dave, with the help of his wife Sarah, got the show on the road himself and then provided others with the opportunity to get involved, gradually drawing in a variety of people with complementary expertise.

When FLAC came to select a group to evaluate the future of Public Interest Law in Ireland as part of its current campaign, CLR was a natural choice. Dave had a vision for making the law accessible to disadvantaged people and for co-ordinating and sharing information.

He also believed wholehertedly that social change was possible and that the law could be used to effect change in Ireland. We believe that Dave pioneered much of the community and public interest law work now developing in this country.

He inspired so many of us that our task is to continue his work for access to justice and the further development of public interest law.

Dave Ellis carried his considerable wisdom lightly, was impishly good humoured, he was deeply committed to his work and could be, occasionally, delightfully eccentric. We remember him as one of life's true gentlemen.

Ni bheidh a leithead ann aris.