105. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will request the Legal Aid Board to clarify the position regarding the future of a centre (details supplied); and if this service will continue in the local area in view of its large case load. [10759/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In accordance with the provisions of the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995, the Legal Aid Board is independent in the exercise of its functions.  In particular, Section 30 of the Act provides that responsibility for determining how legal services should be provided, is solely a matter for the Legal Aid Board.  Their responsibility in this regard includes decisions in relation to the location of law centres.
I am, however, advised by the Board that it has, for a number of years, sought alternative accommodation in the local area for the Law Centre in question, which is currently located in a rented premises, with a view to providing a facility appropriate to the needs of all its clients, including having particular regard to the provisions of the Disability Act 2005.  However, no suitable alternative premises has been found to date.  Should further accommodation opportunities in the area concerned arise in the short term, I understand that the Legal Aid Board will give these due consideration.  I am further advised that other accommodation options are also being explored in the event that suitable accommodation cannot be secured in the immediate area.