Saturday 16 November 2019

Key points of reform

• Reduction of just under 700 councillors. From 2014, there will be no more than 950, down from 1,627.

• Abolition of all 80 town councils, with a reduction in the number of local authorities from 114 to 31. Some 500 staff will be made redundant, saving €45m a year.

• Town councils will be replaced by municipal districts, which will cover the entire county.

• Councillors will be elected simultaneously to the municipal districts and the county council. A review will decide how many districts each council will have.

• There will be at least five councillors per municipal district. Each council will have a minimum of 18 seats, and no more than 40, except in the cases of Dublin and Cork.

• Number of regional authorities/assemblies to be cut from 10 to three. The number of councillors on these authorities will reduce from 270 to 62.

• Annual salary payments to councillors will be reduced, with cuts in expenses. From 2014, councillors can only attend conferences approved by a special body.

• Meeting times will be changed to encourage more women with children to become local councillors.

• Councillors will no longer be allowed overturn planning decisions of officials.

• The property tax will be used to fund local authorities. Councils will, in time, be allowed set the rate. The money will be ringfenced for local services.

lLocal authority managers will be renamed chief executives, answerable to councillors. A new post of Director of Services for Economic and Community Development will be created in larger councils.

• One-stop-shops for business support will be provided through new local enterprise offices (LEOs)

• Website, will be rolled out to every local authority area to allow people report road, lighting, environmental and other issues requiring attention. A response will be issued within two days.

• A National Oversight and Audit Commission will be established to scrutinise local government performance and efficiency.

• Councils in Limerick, Waterford and Tipperary will be merged into one. Cork and Galway will retain city and county councils, while Dublin will keep four.

• A plebiscite will be held in 2014 to decide if there should be a directly elected mayor of Dublin. Only people in the four local authorities will be able to vote.

Irish Independent

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