The Law Society of Ireland has called for increased access to justice through the Irish language during Seachtain na Gaeilge (1-17 March).
“As part of the Law Society’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, we actively promote access to justice through Irish,” said President Michelle Ní Longáin.
“We encourage our members and trainee solicitors to participate in the advancement of Irish for societal benefit, and to grow the practice of law through the Irish language,” she added.
The Law Society has pointed out that:
- Members of the public can access a solicitor who is qualified in the practice of law through Irish on the Clár na Gaeilge (An Dlí-Chumann)/Irish Language Register (Law Society),
- Those interested in becoming a solicitor can download the Law Society’s new brochure, Ag Obair mar Aturnae (Becoming a Solicitor),
- Solicitors are encouraged to undertake the Law Society’s Ardchúrsa Cleachtadh Dlí as Gaeilge (Advanced Legal Practice Irish course).
The president said that it was important for solicitors to have the necessary skills to meet the legal needs of the communities in which they served.
She stated that the Society’s Ardchúrsa Cleachtadh Dlí as Gaeilge provided a pathway for trainee and qualified solicitors for the practice of law through Irish.
She also pointed out that there were now almost 230 solicitors on the Society’s Clár na Gaeilge (An Dlí-Chumann), making it easier for members of the public to access solicitors who could provide trusted legal advice though Irish.
Qualifying through Irish
Máille Brady Bates, an associate in the employment-law practice group in Arthur Cox in Dublin, is an advocate for the Irish language, and is qualified to practice law through Irish.
Brady Bates said: “I chose to undertake the Law Society course because I love the Irish language and relished the opportunity to be qualified to practice through that medium.
“I also believe it is very important to honour the place of Irish as one of our two national languages; this will help ensure services are available to people who are more comfortable communicating through Irish, or simply have a preference to do so, and to keep the language alive and relevant,” she added.
Brady Bates encouraged solicitors to consider undertaking the Society’s Advanced Legal Practice Irish course: “Go for it! If you have any interest in the Irish language and a basic grounding in it, don't hold back.
“The classes were streamed based on your language level, and are taught in small groups, which facilitates collaborative learning,” she stressed.
She also pointed out that the practice of law through Irish was a growing area, as it was now an official and working language of the European Union, and the EU institutions and courts could operate through the language.