Belfast Telegraph

Plea for PM's wife to help Belfast solicitor

By David Gordon
21 January 2005

Campaigners seeking to overturn disciplinary action against a Belfast lawyer are appealing to Cherie Blair for support.

Well-known solicitor Padraigin Drinan has been barred from running a legal practice on her own after an inquiry by the Law Society.

Ms Drinan's clients have included nationalist residents' groups, ethnic minority bodies and the Rape Crisis Centre.

A campaign against the barring order is being planned by Tracey Morris, who was represented by Ms Drinan in child custody proceedings.

Ms Morris today confirmed that contact is being made with the barrister wife of the Prime Minister.

She said: "We are writing to Cherie Blair asking for her support.

"We also want as many people as possible to picket the Law Society offices.

"We are calling on all the organisations and people she has helped to come forward."

"This woman has done so much for so many people and it's now time for them to support her."

It is believed the case stemmed from alleged administrative shortcomings.

Ms Drinan's practice had no comment to make.

A spokesman for the Law Society said complaints had been substantiated by an independent disciplinary tribunal in May last year.

An order barring her from running a practice by herself was deferred until this month, he said.

The Society spokesman said the tribunal had taken into account a "previous history of proven complaints".

He added: "The tribunal formed the view that the respondent was not functioning at any acceptable level as a single practitioner and that in the interest of the public and the respondent herself, they are ordering that she is restricted from practising on her own account."

He added that Ms Drinan is not inhibited from practising as an employed solicitor.

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