What Does Your Council do?
Clare PPN’s main job is to help people participate in local decision making and policy formation by Clare County Council. In Ireland many decisions are made at National level by the national Government and still more are incorporated into Irish national law from the European Union.
We have gathered up some information about what issues your local council does have responsibility for and how it carries them out here below:
Local Government in Ireland
Ireland’s local government system includes county councils and city councils these are known as ‘Local Authorities’ when you refer to them collectively. Local authorities at all levels are responsible representing local communities and ensuring that concerns are expressed and needs met.
Your County Council is made up of both elected representatives Councillors and Council Officials including the County Manager who is recruited publicly and can hold the position for up to 10 years. Local elections are held every five years in order to elect the people onto your council. These representatives are called Councillors and they have the power to vote for or against developments that will affect the local community. The Council Officials are not elected but are employed by the Local Authority.
In county Clare there are currently 28 Councillors who were elected from the four Municipal Districts as follows:
• Ennis: 8 members
• Killaloe: 6 members
• Shannon: 6 members
• West: 8 members
Full details of current councillors are available here:
What powers have they?
This elected council is the policy-making arm of Clare County Council. They act by what are termed ‘Reserved Functions’. Reserved functions are defined by law and specified across a whole range of tasks but they mainly making decisions on important matters of policy and finance. These decisions include:
• The official adoption of the annual budget and setting level of rates
• Making or varying the county development plan
• Adoption of a scheme of letting priorities for local authority dwellings
• Making, amending and revoking bye-laws
• Approving borrowing money
• Declaration of roads to be public roads
The council makes its decisions at its council meetings.
Local authorities are also responsible for the delivery of a wide range of services in their local area. These services include:
• Water supply and sewerage
• Development incentives and controls
• Environmental protection, including rivers, lakes, air and noise
• Recreational facilities and amenities
The executive of the council (the officials) in turn, implement the policies decided by the Councillors: The County Manager performs these tasks by means of what are known as ‘Chief Executive Orders’ – written signed and dated orders setting out decisions made. These functions include:
• The letting of houses.
• The granting or refusal of planning permissions.
• The appointment of staff to the council.