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Thursday 22 February 2018

State agencies, councils face axe under new plan

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

ABOUT 20 quangos and talking shops will be scrapped in the biggest shake-up of local government in the history of the State.

The reform plans -- which will be brought to Cabinet today by Environment Minister Phil Hogan -- will also see the number of councillors across the country reduced from 1,627 to 950.

Under the radical overhaul, the number of state agencies working within the local government sector will be reduced from 21 to 11.

As a result of these bodies being cut, staff will be reduced by about 250, saving €10m.

The current system of 10 regional authorities and regional assemblies will also be abolished and replaced by three new regional assemblies, covering the east, south and north-west.

The new assembly system is regarded as still being necessary to supervise public services in each region and monitor the spending of EU funds.

The new assemblies are expected to be given greater responsibilities under the overhaul.

Meanwhile, the local electoral map of the country will be substantially changed under the plan. Town and county council mergers will see the number of councillors plummet across the country.

Dublin and the east coast will end up getting more city and county councillors in a re-balancing of the allocations. The big winners in the new allocation of councillors will be Fingal, Dun Laoghaire, South Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wexford.

There will also be increases in Wicklow, Kerry, Galway County and Donegal.

But some county councils will lose out under the rebalancing exercise. The biggest losers in the new allocation will be Laois, Longford, Clare, Tipperary, Waterford, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Cavan and Monaghan.

The cuts will be achieved through the abolition of all 744 town councillors and marginally increasing the number of city and county councillors from 883 to a maximum of 950.

Irish Independent

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