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Question

423. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide, in tabular form, the number of times since she assumed office that she has met with representatives of the Bar Council of Ireland and of the Law Society of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23004/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Since my appointment as Minister for Justice and Equality on 8 May 2014 I have had meetings with various bodies who have a direct interest, as stake-holders, in the work of my Department. This has, of course, included the legal professional bodies who have a range of insights to offer from their direct working engagement across the justice system.
On 22 May 2014 I had my first meetings, as Minister, with the Bar Council and with the Honorable Society of King's Inns. I had a similar meeting with the Law Society on 16 June 2014. I availed of these meetings to have an initial exchange of views on a range of current matters within my Department's remit including the Government's ongoing commitment to legislative and other reforms such as those contained in the Legal Services Regulation Bill. On 3 December 2014 I had a further meeting with the Bar Council followed by one with the Law Society on 8 December 2014. These meetings provided further opportunity for me to discuss key aspects of the Legal Services Regulation Bill as well to discuss broader aspects of the justice system of common interest. On 3 June 2015 I had a round-table exchange with the Law Society on specific aspects of the Bill relating to solicitors. I remain open to having further such meetings, as may be appropriate, in support of the ongoing and very detailed work of officials in my Department on the various matters concerned. These exchanges, at both official and Ministerial level, continue to take place on a very positive and constructive basis.
For the sake of completeness, I would wish to point out that my role as Minister for Justice and Equality, including in the promotion of key reforms such as those of the Legal Services Regulation Bill, includes my active participation in an array of events such as the annual conferences, parchment and graduation ceremonies that may be held from time to time by the legal professional or educational bodies.