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Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD has appointed a Chairperson and twelve members to the Legal Aid Board.

Ms. Muriel Walls, a solicitor in McCann FitzGerald Solicitors will take up the position of Chairperson.  

The other members include:

Ms. Oonagh Buckley, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform  representative;
Ms. Mary Dalton, Legal Aid Board Staff Representative;
Ms. Kate Hayes, Member of outgoing Civil Legal Aid Board;
Ms. Joy McGlynn, Social Work Team Leader, HSE;
Ms. Oonagh McPhillips, Department of Justice and Equality Representative;
Mr. Donncha O’Connell, Lecturer in Constitutional Law and European Human Rights, NUI, Galway;
Mr. Micheál O’Connell, BL;
Mr. John O’Gorman, Legal Aid Board Staff Representative;
Mr. Philip O’Leary, Solicitor, Managing Partner, Fitzgerald Solicitors, Cork;
Ms. Michelle O’Neill, BL; and
Mr. Ger Power, Department of Social Protection Representative.

The new members are to replace the outgoing Board whose term of office expired on 10 October last.  

The Legal Aid Board is the statutory, independent body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice to persons of modest means, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995.

Considering the importance of the Legal Aid Board and against the backdrop of the downturn in Ireland’s economy, the Minister affirmed the “considerable increase in demand for legal services” particularly “family law, debt and employment” law.

According to the programme for public service reform published in November of this year, the Legal Aid Board is to be formally integrated with the Family Mediation Service and the functions of the Legal Aid Board have now been extended under Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to include a family mediation service.