Justice Minister reviewing legal aid system but confirms constitutional right to legal aid

The Department of Justice is reviewing the legal aid system but confirms a citizen’s constitutional right to legal representation if they cannot afford to pay for it. Gavel 4 Minister Frances Fitzgerald was responding to a resolution by Kerry councillors asking her to change the system so that a person would no longer qualify after three convictions. The resolution had been proposed by Fianna Fáil councillor John Francis Flynn. But Minister Fitzgerald outlined that refusal of legal aid would give a convicted defendant a very likely avenue for appeal. Meanwhile, Kerry’s top earner under the free legal aid system has called for people who benefit from the system to repay the State from their social welfare payments. Pádraig O’Connell says each case is assessed on its own merit and judges don’t always automatically grant legal aid. [audio_player src=”http://media.radiokerry.ie/mediamanager/embed/audio/51930/medium/”]