Local Government Act 2001

Local Government Act 2001

The Local Government Act, 2001 (No. 37 of 2001) was enacted by the Oireachtas of the Republic of Ireland on 21 July 2001. Most of the provisions of the Act came into operation on 1 January 2002.

According to the explanatory memorandum issued before the passing of the Act, its purposes were to:

  • enhance the role of the elected member,
  • support community involvement with local authorities in a more participative local democracy,
  • modernise local government legislation, and provide the framework for new financial management systems and other procedures to promote efficiency and effectiveness,
  • underpin generally the programme of local government renewal.

Local government areas

The Act established local government areas based on those already created by previous legislation. The types of areas listed in the Act are:

Counties: Identical to the administrative counties established by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 and modified by later legislation. The opportunity was taken to rename Tipperary (North Riding) and Tipperary (South Riding) as North Tipperary and South Tipperary respectively.

Cities: These were the County boroughs created by the 1898 Act and later legislation, renamed. All the county boroughs except Galway had previously had the courtesy title of city by charter or letters patent.

Boroughs: The five existing non-county boroughs continued in existence. In addition it was recognised that Kilkenny could continue to be called a city, in spite of being governed by a borough council and not being a former county borough.

Towns: The remaining town authorities, formerly known as urban districts or towns with town commissioners, were all redesignated as towns.

Local authorities

A council was established for each of the local government areas with the title county council, city council, borough council, or town council (as appropriate).

Membership of councils

One of the most controversial aspects of the Act was the abolition of the so-called "dual mandate". This meant that members of the Oireachtas (Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann) could no longer be candidates for local authority elections. This was taken out of the original act after protests from Fianna Fáil backbenchers who were also councillors.[1] It was introduced in a 2003 amendment after a compensation package was agreed.[2][3]

Local Government Commission

The Act established a Local Government Commission to oversee such matters as alteration of boundaries and the establishment and dissolution of local authorities. Steven Corry was elected the head of commissioning and was entitled with the job of electing new municipal councils.



  1. ^ Murphy, John A (14 July 2002). "No political will to rock the cosy boat that is the Seanad". Sunday Independent (Dublin). Retrieved 16 April 2010. The councillor lobby which stymied Noel Dempsey's plans to end the dual mandate 
  2. ^ "§2 Amendment of Principal Act — insertion of new section 13A". Local Government (No. 2) Act 2003.  
  3. ^ Geaney, Louise (2 June 2003). "'"Local government needs independent 'fiscal autonomy. Irish Independent (Dublin). Retrieved 16 April 2010. The Local Government Bill 2000 proposed to abolish the dual mandate but the Act dropped the idea, only for it to be re-introduced — with a handy €12,800 sweetener — in 2003.