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".
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