Written Answers. - Legal Aid Service.

Róisín Shortall


125 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the campaign to establish a community law centre in Ballymun, Dublin 11, and the recent appointment of a development manager; if he will agree to meet this group with a view to providing support to their campaign in view of the large numbers of persons seeking legal advice on many issues, including housing, tenancy and inheritance matters arising out of the regeneration of Ballymun; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17596/01]

The Deputy will be aware that a senior official from my Department, together with an official from the Legal Aid Board, has met with representatives of the Ballymun community law centre campaign committee.

I understand that at the meeting the position was outlined in relation to the Department's commitments to the provision of civil legal aid to the community by way of a grant-in-aid to the Legal Aid Board, which is responsible for 30 law centres throughout the country.

I also understand that the Legal Aid Board has continued to liaise with the committee with a view to further improving access to legal services for the people of Ballymun. The Deputy will be aware that, under the terms of the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995, the Legal Aid Board has sole responsibility for the provision of legal services, including the location of law centres.

My Department will continue to support the Legal Aid Board in its efforts to provide an efficient, cost-effective and professional legal service to the widest possible number of people, who are eligible for such service under the Act.