Friday 23 March 2018

Sharing power at the local level makes sense

Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan
Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan

By international standards, Ireland, even for a small country, is controlled by an extremely centralised state apparatus.

Local government, policing, education and many other crucial areas of our lives are controlled and funded through central government. This has happened over a long period of time, but even recently the Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, despite earlier promises, decided to divert the Local Property Tax (LPT) from local authorities into central funds, where it is to be used this year for the establishment of Irish Water.

So it is a novel, if welcome development, that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, has put forward the idea that the country should move towards what he calls "a more devolved decision-making system".

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