Committee set up to oversee changes


THE government has established a new committee to decide on changes to local electoral boundaries and to oversee the dismantling of Ireland's Town Council system, including the disbandment of town councils in Tralee, Killarney and Listowel.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has established a Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee, which is the next step in reforming Ireland's local government structures.

The committee is tasked with "creating a better balance in representational ratios for Councillors" while taking particular account of factors such as the location and specific needs of larger towns which formerly had their own council's.

In October Minister Hogan announced that the number of councils operating in Ireland would be slashed from 114 to 31. The proposals will see town councils replaced by municipal districts, and the committee's recommendations on local electoral areas will provide the basis for the configuration of these new districts.

The committee is to review and make recommendations on the division of each council area into local electoral areas, and to make recommendations on the number of members of each council to be assigned to each local electoral area.

Under the reforms the number of councillors representing a local electoral area should typically be seven and not more than ten or less than six. There should be one member for every 4,830 population in each council area.

In addition, and subject to a maximum of four additional members per council, in counties where there are existing town councils there should be one additional member elected per Town Council.

Under these reforms Kerry County Council would be expected to see its membership increase from 27 to 30 members with these seats likely divided between four, or possibly five, municipal districts.

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