August 12th: Unite’s community membership branch in West Belfast will host a public information meeting on the threat posed by the legal aid cuts in the community centre on Glentilt street tonight (12th August 2015) at p.m. Speakers at event, which is the latest in a series of public meetings organised by the union’s community membership branches, will include the leading Belfast solicitor Robert Murtagh and legal aid worker Ciaran Cunningham.
Robert Murtagh will address the issue of the proposed cuts to Legal Aid and how they will have a detrimental effect on the ability of working class people to access Justice as currently occurs under the ‘Legal Aid’ scheme. Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Murtagh explained his interest:
“In my time as a Solicitor I have maintained and developed a growing passion for those cases which by their nature have presented a challenge to principles of Social Justice.
“Despite being associated with high profile legal cases I spend the bulk of my time assisting and defending working-class individuals who have come into conflict with the law, or benefits agencies, social services or the Housing Executive.
“I will be speaking on how Tory plans to cut the current Legal Aid system will have a detrimental effect on people’s access to Legal Advice, representation and the Justice System itself”, Mr Murtagh concluded.
Ciaran Cunningham, a Welfare Rights advisor and Tribunal Representative with ten years experience, explained his concerns:
“I have worked mainly with Citizens Advice Bureau in both a full-time and voluntary capacity in assisting vulnerable families through raising awareness of benefits entitlement.
“I will be speaking on the devastating impact which the proposed cuts to the benefits system will have upon the poor and vulnerable in our society”, Mr Cunningham finished.