Judge revokes legal aid for accused persons who ‘went on holidays’
Half a dozen people failed to appear in court
Half a dozen accused persons, who had been granted free legal aid, failed to appear before Judge Eugene O’Kelly at Limerick District Court.
A judge revoked free legal aid for a number of accused persons yesterday after they went on holidays instead of appearing in court.
About half a dozen accused persons, who had been granted free legal representation, failed to appear before Judge Eugene O’Kelly, at Limerick District Court.
He said it was “entirely unacceptable. The State is put under enormous expense to provide persons with legal aid, and it is not intended to facilitate people going on foreign holidays”.
“People appear to be going on vacation, which they are entitled to do, but there are lots of taxpayers who are funding the legal aid scheme who cannot afford to go on vacation and who are very hard-pressed to make ends meet,” he added.
“And, today we already dealt with someone who had gone on a foreign holiday while the taxpayer funds the legal aid scheme,” he said.
Judge O’Kelly referred to the case of William Harty, who it was heard had gone on a foreign holiday two days after he successfully applied for free legal aid.
“He’s gone on holidays and the taxpayer is footing his legal bill,” said the judge. “He applied for legal aid here before, on the basis that his income was €188 per week. This man has gone on holiday when the taxpayer and the State are footing his legal costs. Two days previously he made an application for the State to pick up his legal bill.”