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Legal Services Ombudsman long overdue – Ó Snodaigh

29 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed the Legal Services Ombudsman Commission Bill 2008. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the introduction of an independent body to hold legal professionals accountable is both welcome and long overdue.

He said, "Sinn Fein welcomes the Legal Services Ombudsman Bill 2008. Sadly whether it's the Gardai, the legal or the medical professions we all know only too well the dangers of leaving any profession to its own devices. The dangers of allowing professions to operate without independent and transparent systems to ensure the highest standards and accountability for the public are inherent.

"The introduction of an independent body to hold legal professionals accountable through this Bill, in the form of a Legal Services Ombudsman, is both welcome and long overdue.

"This Bill also presents an opportunity to address the make-up of the legal professions. Sinn Féin has long been of the opinion that the judiciary, not unlike the Gardaí is not representative of Irish society. It has long been disproportionately made up of people from wealthy backgrounds. In the interests of justice it is imperative that this situation be reversed. Therefore it is crucial that the legal professions begin to include a fair representation of people from working class backgrounds.

"We will be tabling an amendment to the reporting provisions of the Bill which would mandate the Ombudsman to include figures on the socio-economic backgrounds of those entering the Bar Council and Law Society each year with a view to the establishment of quotas." ENDS

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