February 26th, 2019
President Michael D. Higgins yesterday warned that barriers to access to justice in Ireland are damaging “the very fabric of our society, entrenching and exacerbating inequality”.
The president mounted a strong defence of legal aid in his speech at the officially opening of legal rights group FLAC’s new Dublin headquarters.
He said: “We know that a right to justice is fundamental to human rights protection, a primary element of an individual’s entitlement as an equal citizen of any state.
“It is simply not acceptable, in a state that claims to be a democracy, that the most vulnerable section of our society is unable to access our legal system or is prevented from doing so in a timely manner. That is a situation which damages the very fabric of our society, entrenching and exacerbating inequality.
“At the very roots of democracy lies a respect for all citizens and a refusal to foster a culture of privilege and advantage for those who can afford it. If we are to achieve a Republic in its fullest sense, both institutional and experiential, it must be founded on a profound spirit of generous humanity and a necessary inclusiveness.”
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