The Urban Renewal Act 1986 sought to encourage a revival of Dublin's derelict and decaying inner city. The Act established the Custom House Docks Authority with a remit to ensure the physical regeneration of the Custom House Docks.
The newly appointed Authority accompanied by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Fergus O'Brien toured the Custom House Docks which ceased to be operational in the mid-1970s.
The redevelopment of the area was at the heart of the ‘Gregory Deal’ when in return for Independent TD Tony Gregory’s support for the Government, Taoiseach Charles Haughey promised a multi-million-pound cash injection for Gregory’s north inner city constituency.
The new Authority are tasked with attracting investment to the area and building museums and galleries along with housing and office blocks.
The 27 acre site is one of the most significant to come up for redevelopment in over a decade but it is already surrounded by controversy. The Dublin City branch of An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, opposes the plans. Heritage Officer Ian Lumley is worried that the future of the area lies,
In the hands of a five member authority with a very poor procedure for public participation in the drawing up of the scheme for the site.
Minister Fergus O'Brien denies the site will be used for office-space only.
What the State are committed to putting into it at the moment is the National Archives, a modern art gallery and a national folk museum. Now they are important I believe from the cultural activity of a city. They are going in. Shopping. Possibly office development will go in as well, that will depend on what the Authority will decide.
An RTÉ News report by Charlie Bird was broadcast on 17 November 1986.