Wednesday 24 January 2018

Cllr Malcolm Byrne seeks review of legal aid system

By Amy Lewis

Cllr Malcolm Byrne.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne.

There was mixed opinion when Councillor Malcolm Byrne called on Wexford County Council to write to the Minister for Justice to seek an immediate review of the legal aid system.

Cllr Byrne brought up the motion in light of the decision to grant legal aid to Paul Murphy TD, which he said was 'hypocritical' considering he is a 'well-paid individual'.

'You have to take consideration for the action you take,' said Cllr Byrne. 'The idea that the state pick up legal costs is wrong.'

Cllr Deirdre Wadding said that, while she agreed that the legal aid system should be reviewed, she 'strenuously objects' to using Mr Murphy's name. She went on to say that Mr Murphy doesn't receive even an average industrial wage, a statement which was met with much heckling from her fellow councillors.

'Individuals who are far wealthier that Paul Murphy could have been referred to here,' said Cllr Wadding.

Councillor Johnny Mythen proposed that Mr Murphy's name be dropped from the motion and replaced with 'adequately supported individual'.

'I didn't see any gnashing of teeth when David Drumm applied for legal aid,' he said. 'We shouldn't name names.'

However, Cllr Byrne refused to withdraw the original motion.

While councillor Davy Hynes said that the idea of 'a person on a large salary' receiving legal aid doesn't sit well with him, he criticised Cllr Byrne for naming 'someone on the left'.

'As long as your own class is looked after, you don't mind,' he said.

The motion was carried without amendment.

Wexford People

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