Free legal service benefits 3,000 in Dublin and Limerick

Community Law and Mediation annual report celebrates 40 years in operation

More than 3,000 people got access to free legal services last year provided by Community Law and Mediation (CLM) in Dublin and Limerick, its annual report shows.

The service, which is celebrating 40 years, began in Coolock on the north side of Dublin. In 2012, it opened an office in Limerick, and now has outreach services in Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Dublin city centre and Wicklow.

Last year CLM, which receives funding from the Department of Social Protection, helped clients with issues including home repossession, homelessness, employment disputes and family law.

Housing was the single biggest area of law addressed in CLM advice clinics, followed by family and child law and social welfare.

Speaking at the launch of the report on Wednesday, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar said CLM was a highly-regarded community law and mediation service and an important resource for the department.

“CLM has a proud history over the last 40 years, and has built up its service from very humble beginnings to provide an important community-based service throughout the north side of Dublin and beyond.”

He noted that 600 clients had benefited from mediation services through CLM, and said mediation was particularly useful for family disputes.

Human story

The chief executive of the service,

Rose Wall

, said the organisation was extremely grateful for the support of the department which allowed it to continue to carry out vital community-based legal and mediation services, including to more than 3,000 people in 2015.

“It is easy to lose a sense of the individual and human story behind a figure like 3,000.Many of the people we assisted would have suffered devastating consequences were it not for our intervention.”

She said the case studies remind us that “each of us is just a few steps away from being in crisis”.

“And those steps can start with an incorrect decision by a public official, by an unfair, discriminatory, unreasonable action by a creditor or by an employer or by a relationship breakdown.”

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist