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Role of local authorities to be 'expanded', says Phil Hogan

Meanwhile, a committee is to explore whether Waterford City and County Councils should be merged.

Minister Phil Hogan.
Minister Phil Hogan.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR THE Environment, Community and Local Government says that local government reform will focus on strengthening town and county councils, rather than abolishing local authorities.

Responding to a question from Labour TD Joanna Tuffy in the Dáil last week, Minister Phil Hogan said that he intends to propose policies which would focus on “strengthening local government structures generally at regional, county and sub-county levels” while “expanding the role of local government.”

“This will include proposals in relation to municipal governance within counties,” he added.

The government committed to reforming local authorities in the Programme for Government. Hogan said that his reform programme would reflect efforts to improve local government efficiency as well as the development of a system of “local government funding which is fair, stable and effective and brings greater local responsibility in relation to financial matters”.

Hogan said that efforts are already underway to merge the town and county councils in both Limerick and Tipperary. He added that a Local Government Committee has been set up to explore whether Waterford City and County Councils should also be merged.

“The main objective,” he said, “is to bring about stronger, more cohesive local government, with greater capacity to address challenges, maximise efficiency and promote economic and social development.”

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He also said that he would engage with stakeholders on proposals for local government reform once the proposals for such reform are developed. Those proposals will include ethics and leadership issues.

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