Written Answers. - Legal Quarter Designation.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

276 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress which has been made in the proposals for an area in Dublin to be designated as a legal quarter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1663/03]

Richard Bruton

Question:

278 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals for a legal quarter to develop additional court facilities; and the cost implications involved either by way of public spending or by way of tax relief. [2841/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 278 together.

The board of the Courts Service has proposed the designation of an area encompassing Blackhall Place, the Kings Inns, North King Street and the Four Courts area of the Quays as a legal quarter to encourage the development of the district, particularly the development of legal and courts services within the district.

This area already contains a large concentration of court facilities, legal services, other court related agencies such as the Probation and Welfare Service and State Prosecution Service, the Irish Association for Victim Support, the Refugee Legal Service and more than 60 law firms.
I understand the Courts Service is of the view that the momentum created by the designation of this area as a legal services district and by the progression of two major court projects i.e. a Family Law Court complex and a Criminal Court complex would have the potential to complement the efforts of Dublin City Council to rejuvenate and regenerate this area of the north inner city and would, undoubtedly, stimulate further commercial activity in the area. Many of the sites in this area already hold tax designated status under the HARP project.
The proposal to establish a legal quarter is a good one and merits further consideration. It is proposed to establish an interdepartmental group comprising representatives of my Department, the Courts Service, the Department of Finance, the Office of Public Works, the Department of the Environment and Local Government and the Department of the Taoiseach to consider how the proposal could best be developed and to identify the benefits which could accrue to this part of Dublin and to the country as a whole by formally designating it as a legal quarter.