Councillors back call for change to legal aid system

Pa Daly SF 1Members of Kerry County Council are writing to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald requesting a change to the free legal aid system. A motion by Fianna Fáil Councillor John Francis Flynn calls for people with more than three convictions to be excluded from applying for free legal aid. The motion by Cllr Flynn received the widespread backing of members of Kerry County Council. 14 members voted to support the motion, with only three councillors voting against it. 15 members were absent when the vote was taken and one councillor abstained from voting. Sinn Féin’s Pa Daly, a practicing solicitor, said it was futile for members to be discussing the issue as this was a constitutional matter. He asked councillors to consider a scenario where someone might have been convicted of minor offences in their youth and would be penalised if there was a cap on the number of previous convictions allowed. He said it would not be fair that this person was not allowed a defence for a more serious charge in later life.