asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans are in hand for rebuilding or replacing the Forensic Department's premises recently destroyed by fire; and having regard to the importance of the Department to industry, road safety and particularly in the fight against terrorism, if he can give an assurance that the matter is being proceeded with as of the highest importance and priority.
I can certainly give this assurance. The Northern Ireland Forensic Laboratories were transferred to the undamaged parts of the Department of Commerce premises at Newtownbreda immediately following the fire, and appropriate modifications to these premises, to provide the space and facilities needed, are proceeding as a matter of urgency. The Industrial Science Division is currently occupying temporary premises at Newtownards, and permanent accommodation at Lisburn is under consideration. Thanks largely to the dedicated efforts of the staff in both the Forensic Laboratories and the Industrial Science Division there has been very little interruption to the important services which they provide.