FLAC Solicitors working with Clare CIS are honoured

December 2015

Volunteer solicitors who have given over 3 years of service to their community with the Citizens Information Service in Clare were honoured at a special ceremony in Ennis, recently. The award was presented toFrank Doherty, Mairead Doyle, Shiofra Hasset, Ann Walsh, Liam O Connell and Caitriona O Connor to recognise long standing and continuous service to the Free legal Advice Service at Ennis Citizens Information Centre.

Paul Woulfe Manager of the Citizens Information Service said that without such volunteers, every year around 700 people would not be able to receive the free legal advice to help them to begin to address their legal problems. The time that solicitors dedicate by volunteering with FLAC provides a bridge between the difficulties that people are facing in their lives and the beginning of a solution.

Zse Varga Co-ordinator with FLAC commended them for providing a much needed and valuable service "Although we have always been thankful for the contributions of Free Legal Advice volunteers, we want to take another step in 'formally' thanking you. The award consists of a mention on FLAC's Roll of Long Service Volunteers, a special golden FLAC lapel pin and a certificate", she added.

Angela Black, Chief Executive, Citizens Information Board said the FLAC award scheme acknowledges the role of volunteers in making a difference in their local communities. She encouraged volunteers within the legal profession to continue this important commitment.

One of the recipients Caitriona O Connor said: "many people find the law intimidating because they don't understand it. Legal language and formalities can be very off- putting, and it is a solicitor's job to help people navigate the law. It is reassuring just to be able to sit down with a lawyer and ask a few questions without worrying about fees. Clients get to see lawyers volunteering with no motive other than to help, which helps them to relax and indeed gives a new perspective on the legal profession."

In the current economic crisis, Caitirona has seen a big increase in clients with debt problems. In the past, most of her FLAC clients would have been less well off, but with the downturn she says it is not unusual to find people from traditionally better-off areas now struggling to pay their mortgages or saddled with large business or personal debts and thus seeking free legal help. Such indebtedness can also cause other knock-on effects such as relationship breakdown and the associated issues related to that.

Legal Clinics are held at Ennis Citizens Information Centre on Tuesday and Friday afternoon from 3.00pm – 5.00pm. There is also an evening clinic on Thursday from 5.00pm – 7.00pm. Further information from Ennis CIC, Bindon Lane Ennis Telephone 0761 07 5260

At the Presentation of Award for Volunteers Solicitors Angela Black, CEO Citizens Information Board;  Zse Zarga, FLAC Co-ordinator and Frank Doherty Solicitor, Recipient of Award

At the Presentation of Award for Volunteers Solicitors Angela Black, CEO Citizens Information Board; Zse Zarga, FLAC Co-ordinator and Frank Doherty Solicitor, Recipient of Award

At the Presentation of Award for Volunteers Solicitors Angela Black, CEO Citizens Information Board;  Zse Zarga, FLAC Co-ordinator and Caitriona O Connor Solicitor Recipient of Award

At the Presentation of Award for Volunteers Solicitors Angela Black, CEO Citizens Information Board; Zse Zarga, FLAC Co-ordinator and Caitriona O Connor Solicitor Recipient of Award