The following is the text of the address of Jim Daly TD speaking at the launch of Make Your Claim: A Consumer’s Guide to the Injuries Board by John McCarthy (The post with full details including photos of the event is here.)
It is my honour to attend my first ever book launch and delighted to share in what is an extraordinarily proud achievement for John McCarthy. It is a pleasure to share in this very special occasion not just for John but for his extended family.
It is timely that John should publish this book challenging the resulting consequences of the establishment of the Injuries Board which is located here in Clonakilty. John is not challenging the workings of this board but rather challenging the consequences for the consumer. This book is being launched at a time when society has been convulsed in the scrutiny being applied to many organisations within the State such as the charities sector and more recently An Garda Síochána. I acknowledge the members of An Garda Síochana here present and know I speak for everyone in the room when I express my gratitude to you for the role you continue to play in our lives as you attend to your daily duties protecting our community. I do not accept that the actions of the few in any way change or shape our appreciation for what the members of An Garda Síochana do on a daily basis. On behalf of all of us, I extend my appreciation and support to you.
In order to best sum up the book I am launching here this evening, I wish to borrow a quote from the book. The quote is not from the Author himself but from David Corkery. In it he writes, – “It is clear that John wrote this to help someone who knows nothing rather than showing how much he knows” I think this sentence superbly captures the essence of this publication.
In the words of Franklin P Jones
“Anybody who thinks talk is cheap should get some legal advice”
This quote belies the all too often reality for consumers who through the lack of adequate legal advice will not succeed in getting justice for the wrong inflicted upon them through no fault of their own.
I congratulate John McCarthy on this welcome and timely re focus of attention on the consequences of the establishment of the Injuries Board. Throughout the book, it is clear that John is championing the rights of the consumer at all times. At a cursory glance, it might appear that John a legal practitioner by profession is merely advocating for an increased role for solicitors in the workings of the Injuries Board. On reading the book however, the reader is left in no doubt but that John is clearly championing the rights of the consumer constantly throughout the book. In my opinion, John has illustrated very clearly a number of fault lines which have emerged in the administration of natural justice as an unintended consequence of the establishment of the Injuries Board. Not least among these is the prohibition of payment of legal fees for consumers availing of the services of the Board. The author acknowledges the Board’s assertion that as it is not a legal process and therefore legal advice is not necessary, however this does not acknowledge the serious consequences for a claimant who through circumstances beyond their control ends up with an “Authorisation” and will have to resort to the courts. Serious errors may have occurred at this stage and the claimant may have to pay a heavy price for the lack of legal advice from the start of the engagements with the respondents.
For my part, I look forward to addressing this challenge to the administration of natural justice through my role as a legislator in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
In conclusion, I wish John continued success in his championing of consumer rights. Society as a whole owes you, John an enormous debt of gratitude for the work you have put in to this publication. Any contribution to the administering of a fairer and more just society is an incredibly worthy and noble cause and I salute you this evening for your initiation of what will become an interesting and challenging debate in the months ahead.
Go n-eirí go geal leat sa todchaí!