Criminal barristers stage protest in Letterkenny as pay dispute escalates

July 9, 2024

Photo: North West Newspix

Criminal barristers in Letterkenny withdrew services at Letterkenny Court House today to protest over pay.

The demonstration is one of three days of action planned this month by the Council of the Bar of Ireland.

Barristers are demanding an increase in fee rates, which were cut by between 28.5% to 60% during the crash.

Since 2008, barristers are paid a flat rate, “with no provision for inflation or cost of living increases, in marked contrast to those employed in the public sector,” said the Council.

“The planned withdrawal in July is an escalation on the unprecedented action which was taken by barristers nationwide last October 3rd.

“The Bar of Ireland is seeking an independent, meaningful, time-limited and binding mechanism to determine the fees paid to criminal barristers by the Director of Public Prosecutions and under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Scheme.”

“No barrister wishes to be in this position, but we have been left with no choice,” said Sara Phelan SC, Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland

“All we are seeking is fairness, and for appropriate investment in the criminal justice advocacy service, through an independent review so that work in 2024 is fully reflected and sustainable. A failure to so invest will result in continued attrition at the criminal bar, which will in turn add to the delays already being experienced by members of the public involved in the criminal justice system – these delays can often be very difficult, in particular for victims of crime and accused persons, all of whom are seeking to have their rights vindicated. The ball is in the Government’s court now.”

The Council of The Bar of Ireland is planning further withdrawal of service on Monday July 15 and Wednesday July 24.