Benefits of FLAC service in Longford highlighted

Importance of providing free legal advice to those who need it cannot be underestimated

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Benefits of FLAC service in Longford highlighted

Connie Gerety Quinn (CIS), Teresa McNerney (CIS), Zsé Varga (FLAC), Lorcan Gearty (Longford BAR Association), Seamus Quinn (Volunteer Solicitor) and Eilis Barry (CEO FLAC)

Senior figures behind a leading independent volunteer-run organisation were in Longford town last week in an effort to highlight the strong working relationship it enjoys with Citizens Information Services in delivering equal access to justice for members of the public.

FLAC, or Free Legal Advice Centres, to give the body its full name, is an independent human rights organisation dedicated to the realisation of equal access to justice for all.

Through a collaborative approach with Longford Citizens Information Service, it holds a clinic on the second Thursday of each month whereby those in need of legal advice can pop in and obtain guidance from one of its accredited law practitioners.

Its chief executive Eilis Barry and Volunteer Development Manager Zsé Varga travelled to the county last Thursday to enhance its ties with CIS and locally based solicitors aligned to FLAC.

“We (FLAC) are in 67 locations around the country where people can get basic legal information,” said Ms Barry.

“We are here to meet lawyers in Longford who provide that service and the Citizens Information Service who facilitate it.”

Ms Barry said appointments can be arranged simply by picking up the phone and ringing a legal advice service or its lo-call telephone information and referral line.

Up to 1200 legal advice consultations were provided nationwide by FLAC last year with around 140 of those coming in Longford.

Manager of Longford CIS Connie Gerety Quinn said the success of the service was already beginning to bear fruit.

“On any given night we would normally have six to eight appointments,” she said, noting on occasions a second solicitor has been drafted in to cater for people's needs.

That prompted Ms Barry to pay particular homage to the Longford Bar Association for providing their expertise to members of the public free of charge.

Ms Gerety Quinn, on the other hand, was more at pains to underline the significance of how public information services like CIS can work in tandem with other agencies in delivering real and meaningful results.

“What this is really about is FLAC, CIS and Longford Bar Association working collaboratively in bringing free legal advice to the community free of charge.”

Bookings to Longford FLAC clinic are by appointment only.

For more details contact 0761 075890 or call into Longford Citizen's Information Centre, Level One, Longford Shopping Centre, Longford.