First community law centre opens in Limerick

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Attending the launch of the Limerick Community Law & Mediation Centre were Caroline Keane, solicitor, Moya de Paor, acting manager, Northside Community Law & Mediation Centre and Minister Jan O'Sullivan [Photograph: Liam Burke]
THE opening of the Limerick Community Law & Mediation Centrewill ensure that people living in regeneration areas of the city will be able to get access to free legal advice and mediation services.

THE opening of the Limerick Community Law & Mediation Centrewill ensure that people living in regeneration areas of the city will be able to get access to free legal advice and mediation services.

Headed by solicitor Caroline Keane, the new centre which is located at the Social Services Centre, Henry Street has been funded by the Office of Regeneration at Limerick City Council, the Northside Community Law & Mediation Centre in Dublin and the Public Law Alliance.

In addition to Caroline Keane, who previously worked with Sweeney-McGann solicitors, a panel of local legal professionals have volunteered to give their services to the centre free-of-charge.

“The basis for the centre is to provide access to justice for people from marginalised or disadvantaged areas so it’s free legal advice and information and representation really to give people access to enforcing their rights and entitlements,” said Caroline Keane who says the centre will deal with all aspects of law other than criminal law.

Minister Jan O’Sullivan, who officially opened the centre said she is delighted that it is the first to be established outside of Dublin.

“This is a very important step in the life of Limerick because what it’s doing is it’s providing access to the law on an equal basis for people in communities that sometimes haven’t been able to afford access to the law and it’s a basic right. People who have money can buy good legal advice and can often buy advantage for that,” she said.

Legal rights group Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) has also welcomed the opening of the Limerick Law & Mediation Centre.

“It is a very welcome addition in the existing network of independent law centres,” said Noeline Blackwell, director general of FLAC who attended the launch of the new centre.