I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
The purpose of this Bill is, firstly, to establish, on a statutory basis, Temple Bar Renewal Limited as the company to act as provided for in the Finance Act, 1991, and provide that the company shall lay its decisions, on the approval of development proposals before both Houses of the Oireachtas for their information; Temple Bar Renewal Limited is a company limited by guarantee. Up to now its essential function has been to advise me, and through me the Government, on how the Temple Bar area should be developed. From now on its essential function will be to decide which development proposals merit the incentives provided for the Temple Bar area in the Finance Act, 1991. Secondly, to establish, on a statutory basis, Temple Bar Properties Limited as the company to implement the development of Temple Bar on behalf of the Government; Temple Bar Properties Limited is a company limited by shares of which the Taoiseach, through his nominees is the sole shareholder, as the member of the Government with responsibility for culture. Its essential function is to act as the development company for the Temple Bar area on behalf of the Government in accordance with the recommended development plan.
The development of the Temple Bar area is a Government Flagship Project for Dublin's Year as European City of Culture in 1991. The objectives of the renewal and development of Temple Bar is to build on what has been taking place in the area spontaneously and to create a cultural and tourist quarter which people will visit and in which others will work and live.
Temple Bar has developed over the years to become a "village" within the city. The tenants have been attracted by the historic ambience of the streets and buildings, and through their wide variety of activities they have contributed greatly to this "village" atmosphere. Already there exists a vibrant intertrading and interdependence among the tenants involving artists, traders, restaurateurs, musicians, business people, publicans and residents. The expansion of existing facilities and the promotion of new tourism and recreational facilities will include restaurants, speciality shops, recording studios, a film centre, craft workshops, theatres, art galleries, hotels and a variety of retail shops and markets.
The visual impact of the area will focus in particular on cobble stones, wood panelled shop exteriors, lamp standards, sculpture, buskers and speakers corner and a weekend market. In this way the unique character and "left-bank" atmosphere of Temple Bar will be promoted. The objective is also to provide residential accommodation for students and others who wish to live in the area. This is in keeping with the policy of creating a living vibrant inner city area along this part of the quays.
Temple Bar Properties Limited will implement the European Commission pilot project for the Temple Bar area for which the Commission has provided funding of IR£3.6 million representing 50 per cent of the total cost. In addition, the European Investment Bank have agreed to provide a loan of IR£5 million to Temple Bar Properties Limited for the first phase of the development of the area and to consider favourably further loans for later phases of the development.
The development of the Temple Bar area has been undertaken by the Government on the basis of unanimous proposals and recommendations made to them by Temple Bar Development Council, which represents people from the area, in Dublin Corporation's action plan for the area and by representative groups. The development has the full support of the Arts Council and the council will be actively involved in its implementation.
The company will acquire all the properties owned in the Temple Bar area by CIE and Dublin Corporation. It will, also, acquire such other key properties in the area as it considers essential to its development role. A particular focus of this role will be to encourage refurbishment of existing buildings in a way that enhances and complements the conservation and architectural legacy of the area.
The Bill provides that Temple Bar Properties Limited will be required to provide details of its operations to the Minister for Finance given that he will give a State guarantee of the company's borrowing up to a limit of IR£25 million. The company's accounts will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. As a commercial State company, Temple Bar Properties Limited can be added to the remit of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Commercial State-Sponsored Bodies; Temple Bar Renewal and Properties Limited will be subject to public service pay guidelines; tenants may not assign, sublet or share possession of premises without the prior consent, in writing, of Temple Bar Properties Limited; Temple Bar Properties Limited will have powers of compulsory purchase in the Temple Bar area in accordance with the Third Schedule to this Bill; and Temple Bar Properties Limited will be exempt from stamp duty in relation to the properties it acquires in the Temple Bar area.
A number of tax reliefs have been introduced for the Temple Bar area, which are similar to those in "designated areas". Broadly speaking, these include double rent allowances, industrial buildings allowance, owner occupier allowance for private dwellings and "section 23" allowances for rented residential accommodation.
In recognition of the need to give priority to the refurbishment of the area, a special new 100 per cent capital allowance is being given for refurbishment of the existing buildings. This new capital allowance will cover the actual expenditure incurred on refurbishment plus either the cost of acquiring the building or its value as at 1 January 1991 — exclusive of site cost or value — where the amount spent on refurbishment exceeds the latter.
I believe that the new incentives for refurbishment in Temple Bar which allow not just the full cost of the refurbishment but also the cost of the building which is being refurbished are critical for Temple Bar being redeveloped sensitively as we all wish. Already the first steps have been taken in the redevelopment process. The acquisition of the CIE properties is being arranged and new leases will be drawn up by the new company with existing tenants. A survey of Dublin Corporation properties is underway and a report is expected shortly. A large number of developers have already expressed an interest in developing sections of Temple Bar and these inquiries are being actively pursued. Needless to say, such a high level of development will provide considerable jobs in the construction industry and support services.
Jobs will also be provided in the cultural industries. Temple Bar Properties Ltd. has commissioned several cultural reports to direct the development of the area with specific reference to job creation. These reports include: a report on the National Music Centre; a report on a development strategy for the Irish film industry with particular emphasis on job creation; a report on food and employment in the food industries; a report on the social impact of the development on the local community.
Specific proposals for a wide range of artistic, cultural and retail projects have been received from many individuals and entrepreneurs. The Irish Film Centre Project, which is a flagship has gone to tender and will be started this summer. It will be completed in spring 1992. An architectural competition for a comprehensive and co-ordinated building plan for the Temple Bar area is being launched in conjunction with the RIAI. The building, known as Saint Michael and Johns at Fishamble Street, has been acquired for the development of the Viking Adventure in conjunction with Bord Fáilte. This project will be totally suitable for this historic area beside Wood Quay. Dublin Corporation has commenced the pedestrianisation of a number of streets in the area. The current phase will be completed by the end of the year.
The redevelopment of the Temple Bar area will make history in the life of this city. It is a distinctive part of Dublin frequented by young people, attracted by the unique ambience of the area, where art and cultural activities have begun to flourish spontaneously and which will now be extended and nurtured by these new companies, which the Oireachtas is establishing. This old and well-loved part of Dublin will be restored to prime condition, which it deserves.
I am confident that the development will provide a vibrant new living area, providing new jobs and attracting many visitors. It will, no doubt, provide a showcase both nationally and internationally to emphasise the great potential for renewal in inner city areas where there is a cohesive plan, supported by Government, city planners and people from the area itself, for development encompassing cultural and business activities.
The Temple Bar Project brings to physical reality a dream that many dedicated people have cherished for a long time. It also gives expression to our hope that Irish society will develop a vibrant artistic dimension in which all will be involved and in which creativity will be fostered and extended to all sections of the community. I know this project has support right across the political spectrum and for that reason I will welcome and carefully consider any ideas or suggestions which Deputies may wish to offer.
I commend the Bill to the House.