Press Release: First ‘Virtual’ WRC hearings must lead to further changes, July 2020

July 12, 2020

Access to labour protections vital as economy reboots

The planned commencement of virtual hearings by the Workplace Relations Commission this week (beginning Mon 13th July 2020) is to be welcomed at a time when the rights of workers are under threat, according to Community Law & Mediation (CLM).

The community law centre and charity says that while the resumption of hearings is a positive step, there are other obstacles which put the protection of the State’s labour relations mechanisms beyond the reach of many people.

It says the use of technology to overcome Covid-19 restrictions represents a moment which should prove a catalyst for even greater changes.

Rose Wall, CEO of CLM, adds:

As hearings get underway, it is important that measures are taken to ensure the use of technology does not add to what can be a difficult, frustrating and daunting experience. Vulnerable people, including those who cannot afford to pay for legal representation, people with intellectual disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language will need help to navigate the process.

At Community Law and Mediation (CLM) it is our hope that this moment will now be seized to undertake other urgent reforms needed to break down barriers which place our labour relations services beyond the reach of many.

Legal costs and complex procedures have been barriers for too long. One very important step which should be taken is to extend legal aid, under the Civil Legal Aid Scheme, to employment law and equality disputes so that everyone has an equal opportunity to vindicate their rights in this area

For further details on this press release, please contact:

Email: Elizabeth Devine, Communications Manager:

Phone: 087 697 5677

For further information visit our website:

Follow us on: @CLMirl

Notes to Editors

About Community Law & Mediation:

Community Law & Mediation (CLM) supports more than 3,000 people annually through its range of services, which include free legal advice and representation; information and education; and mediation and conflict coaching. It operates two community law centres, CLM Northside (Dublin) and CLM Limerick, and partners with other organisations to provide outreach advice clinics around Ireland.

CLM was established in Coolock in 1975 as the first independent, community-based law centre in Ireland. Its mission is to provide people in our communities with expert legal, mediation, and education services they would not otherwise have access to and in doing so, to address underlying issues of injustice and exclusion

Since the COVID-19 crisis, employment rights issues have represented by far the largest demand for CLM`s free legal advice and advocacy services (160% increase in consultations).