Fine Gael calls for review of legal aid

Fine Gael has called for a review of the way legal aid is granted to accused people in the criminal courts.

According to Mayo Deputy John O'Mahony, more than €116m has been paid to solicitors' firms in the past three years.

He is adamant a significant number of defendants whose legal fees are paid by the State would be in a position to pay for their own defence.

His main concern is that the system is being abused.

“I read over the summer months where judges described the legal aid system as one of the most abused systems in Ireland.

“I’m thinking particularly of the criminal who has previous convictions for something like drug offences but he claims in court that he can’t afford to pay for a solicitor. Yet, in many cases, the same person can pay large sums of money for drugs. There’s an anomaly there and it needs to be corrected,” he said.


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