All Things Ireland – Gearing up for St Patrick’s Day 2023

Welcome to All Things Ireland- LGIU's weekly collation of everything local government in Ireland!

2023 marks another year of important milestones for Ireland.

Showcasing and celebrating milestones such as 50 years of EU membership and 25 years of supporting the Good Friday Agreement, the 2023 St Patrick’s Day programme announced this week highlights Ireland’s engagement as an active member of the international community in the promotion of democracy, peace and security.

LGIU Ireland updates- Find all this and more on the LGIU Ireland page!

BriefingThe internal review of An Bord Pleanála. This Briefing examines the rather disturbing findings of that internal examination of the issues which have seriously undermined the reputation of the Board and also embroiled it in costly litigation from dissatisfied appellants.

Article–  A strategic partnership between the Gaelic Athletic Association and local government – The GAA Green Club Programme. This article by Kildare County Council’s Senior Executive Officer, Alan Dunney, highlights how a partnership between Irish local authorities and Ireland’s largest sporting organisation has been driving forward a programme of climate action activities across every town and village in Ireland.

PublicationIn Conversation with Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council. As part of LGIU Ireland’s 2023 series on local government leadership, Thomas and Hannah spoke with Joan Martin, Chief Executive of Louth County Council to find out more about the challenges and opportunities facing Louth, and the local government sector

Housing & Planning

Save the date!

Housing Practitioners Conference 2023 – Register your interest here! The 2023 Conference will take place in the Strand Hotel Limerick on Thursday, May 11th and a half day on Friday, May 12th. The Conference is being organised as a joint-initiative between the Institute of Public Administration and the Housing Agency.

2,307 vacant social homes were brought back into active use in 2022 under the Voids Programme. In 2022, local authorities recouped almost €29 million in funding for stock improvement programmes for the refurbishment of vacant local authority-owned social housing.

Increases to house prices and income limits for all local authority areas means from March 1st 2023 more people will be eligible to apply for the State-backed mortgage. Check out the increase house price and income limits in local authority areas here!

Twelve local authorities are now taking online planning applications and submissions at

Developed by the LGMA in collaboration with the local authorities and supported by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, currently, Carlow, Clare, Galway County, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath Councils are taking applications and submissions on the site.

€314,280 was announced for Údarás na Gaeltachta for the purpose of preparing and making an application for planning permission in relation to a new Education and Youth Centre to be built in Indreabhán, with an application expected for Galway County Council this summer.

Redevelopment of the Abbey Theatre progresses forward after three land owners on Abbey Street and Eden Quay who opposed their buildings being subjected to compulsory purchase orders (CPO) withdrew their objections.

1,044 A-rated social, affordable, and private homes are set to be delivered by Dublin City Council and developer Bartra in four phases. Find out more here!

Meanwhile, a progress report for Quarter 4 2022 under Housing for All shows 2022 targets for supply of homes well exceeded in first full year of Housing for All.

Updates for local authorities

A shared approach to digitising Local Government?

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council shares the details a recent Build to Share (Bts) project which aims to establish an approach to the development of digital systems.

NASA, weather stations, schools and climate action: Innovation at Fingal County Council

To explore how Fingal County Council’s innovation fund works, LGIU Ireland spoke to Executive Engineer, Kevin Vallely, whose funding through the CE Innovation Fund facilitated the award-winning – Weather Stations for Schools project.

What is happiness? Looking at the UK’s happiest region – Northern Ireland

Given that NI is not alone in these islands in benefiting from beautiful landscapes, this LGIU blog post looks at some of the possible drivers to understand what makes NI the happiest place to live in the UK.

Clare County Council: Local Authority of the Year 2022

This briefing showcases how Clare County Council – Ireland’s recently awarded Local Authority of the Year – delivers for its communities and enables its stakeholders and communities to ensure the county continues to develop as a place to live, work and visit.

€150,000 is now available for Local Authority initiatives for Europe Day 2023 as part of plans to commemorate Ireland’s May 2023 50th anniversary of joining the EU.

The AILG 2023 Annual Conference launched this week and will take place on 19th and 20th April 2023 in Hotel Kilkenny, College Rd, Sugarloafhill, Kilkenny. Click here to register and more!

Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick, President of AILG, hosted an important engagement between the AILG and senior members of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association in Kilkenny County Council to discuss areas of cross-border collaboration at local government level. Find out more from AILG here!

From Longford County Council, local businesses met with over 4,000 buyers from across the world at the Local Enterprise Showcase 2023. Longford companies joined over 100 Local Enterprise Office supported businesses, with Craft Around the Clock winning in the Showcase Best Product in the Wellness category at the event.

Delivered in partnership with Dublin City Council’s Smart Dublin programme, Google’s Project Air View initiative measured the air quality on Dublin’s streets over a period of 16 months finding Dublin’s air quality to be “good”.

Launched this week, the new North Tipperary Development Company’s (NTDC) Strategic Plan 2021-2025 vision is to provide financial, social, organisational and personal support to communities, enterprises and individuals in rural and urban North Tipperary.

A new Citizens’ Assembly will be asked to consider the legislative, policy and operational changes the State could make to significantly reduce the harmful impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities and wider society.


Community Integration Fund 2023 will see €500,000 made available to local community-based projects nationwide to support the integration of migrants and
grants of up to €5,000 will be allocated to successful organisations to support integration initiatives.

This year, St Patrick’s Day will mark ‘100 Years of Ireland in the World’, a century of our country’s engagement as an active member of the international community in the promotion of democracy, peace and security. With a focus on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Ireland’s 50th anniversary of EU membership, and Ireland’s steadfast support for Ukraine, read more about the ambitious St Patrick’s Day programme here.

With lessons for Ireland’s recent Active Travel funding, a BBC report highlights a Belgian politician response to Oxfordshire County Council’s controversial low-traffic neighbourhood scheme.


Finally, a Údarás na Gaeltachta Interim Board has been appointed. As a result of this, seven members of the twelve members who will ultimately be on the board have been appointed – which means that there is a quorum and the board is able to function accordingly. The rest of the board will be appointed when the public competition – administered by PAS (Public Appointments Service) – has been completed and the following are the members appointed subject to the Act, with immediate effect until the end of 2024.

Anthony Molloy Donegal County Council nomination
Pádraic Ó Conaire Mayo County Council nomination
Pádraig Mac an Iomaire Galway County Council nomination
Breandán Mac Gearailt Kerry County Council nomination
Joe Conway Waterford County Council nomination

Finance and funding

Budget 2023: Facing the challenges of an unstable world

This LGIU summary on the 2023 Budget in Ireland is provided to both our Irish Readership and international readers interested in Ireland and the way the country seems to be relatively less impacted by much of the instability of international conditions at the moment.

A new updated Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker and updated MyProjectIreland interactive map. Project Ireland 2040 sets out a clear long-term strategy for public capital projects in Ireland backed by funding of €165 billion over a 10 year period as presented in the National Development Plan 2021–2030 (NDP).

New from the Central Statistic Office, the county income breakdown for 2020 shows Dublin continued to have the highest disposable income per person in the state in 2020, followed by Limerick and Cork. Read the full breakdown here!

Infrastructure and transport

Road maintenance (regional and local roads) in Irish local authorities

This is the latest in the series of briefings dealing with the Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) Value for Money (VFM) Reports. In particular, will we zone in on the LGAS’s latest VFM report that was produced in January 2022 entitled, an overview of Road Maintenance (Regional and Local Roads) in Local Authorities.

The main purpose of the LGAS’s latest report is to quantify the cost and funding of road maintenance for Regional and Local Roads for all local authorities for the three years to 31 December 2019. As mentioned in previous briefings in this series, the LGAS’s VFM reports allow each local authority to benchmark themselves against other similar local authorities with the aim of achieving efficiencies, where possible, in a particular area.

Roads, roads roads. The 2023 Regional and Local Roads allocation will receive €626 million in investment. An increase of €20 million from 2022, you can find the full break down here, as well as the €12.5 million is available for repairs and improvement works on our rural roads and laneways. Under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS), the funding will support the continued improvement of non-public roads and lanes that are not normally maintained by the local authorities.

Such projects include,

  • Tralee Northern Relief Road, which includes 2 kilometres of footway and cycleways
  • Athy Southern Distributor Road which will give pedestrian and cycling access to the grand canal blueway
  • Killaloe bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and R494 Improvement Scheme. This includes 12.4 kilometres of foot and cycleways and would potentially provide access to the proposed Limerick to Scarriff greenway

Environment and heritage

How are Australian Councils leading the way on Deposit Return Schemes?

Driving a circular economy approach to soft plastic recycling- This blog uncovers how the City of Greater Bendigo’s new partnership with Close the Loop implements a circular economy for recyclable materials.

€910,000 has been approved for projects in the Irish and Ulster-Scots language sectors.

  • €600,000 will be made available to Foras na Gaeilge to invest in the publishing and dictionary sectors
  • €150,000 has been approved for the Ulster-Scots Agency to develop educational initiatives and support a pilot programme for marching bands.
  • €80,000 has been approved for Oireachtas na Gaeilge to begin the development of archive facilities in partnership with Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge, Dublin City University.

26 teams are to receive funding under the €65 million National Challenge Fund – a competition to find solutions to major environmental and societal issues. Funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, the teams are seeking to address Ireland’s drive towards climate neutrality by 2050, and the best use of disruptive digital technologies.


A new €3 million investment in an integrated anaerobic digestion and green biorefining demonstration initiative. Jointly awarded to University College Dublin (UCD) and Munster Technological University (MTU) for the further development of climate neutral farming as part of the Farm Zero Carbon research project currently being undertaken on the Shinagh Estates Demonstration Farm in West Cork.

Marking the 102nd anniversary of the daring escape of Ernie O’Malley, Frank Teeling and Simon Donnelly from Kilmainham Gaol during the War of Independence on 14 February 1921, the Kilmainham Gaol Museum will unveil the newly-restored gates through which the men escaped.


Following research from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) which highlights younger listeners’ interest in having greater choice in Irish language audio content, a potential new Irish language radio service received renewed Ministerial support.

Finally, with lessons for Irish local tourism, this article from the Guardian shows the real possibility of “eco-friendly accommodation and travel, and visits to projects promoting regenerative farming and reforestation”.

Local government learnings from Scotland!

So many of the challenges faced by local governments are shared with their colleagues across countries and across continents. To promote the sharing of local government best practice and innovation, this week we look at two new policy areas in Scotland;

Council partnerships to upgrade housing stocks?

The City of Edinburgh Council has teamed up with environmental charity Changeworks to help homeowners transform the energy efficiency of their homes. (Scottish Housing News)

What is a Green Freeport?

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport have been selected by the Scottish and UK governments to become Scotland’s first Green Freeports. Read more about the Green Freeport requirements here!

Finally, consultation on a proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the purpose of local development plan regulations on evidence reports. The purpose of defining “Gypsies and Travellers” in regulations is to enable the Scottish Government and planning authorities to support the Gypsy and Traveller communities better.

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