All Things Ireland- key updates for local authorities

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

<p data-block-key=”o0t6q”>While this week in local government was certainly quieter than the individual who submitted <a href=””>23,431 noise complaints about Dublin Airport in 2022,</a> this edition of All Things Ireland brings you all the key local government updates, reports and funding calls.</p>
<p data-block-key=”o0t6q”>From housing updates to Protocol politics, read below to stay informed, connected and engaged!</p>

LGIU Ireland updates

Policy briefing- 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.

ReflectiveIn 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

Short articleNASA, 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.

You can find all this and more on our LGIU Ireland page here!

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.

Delays to Limericks directly elected Mayor- Legislation required for an election for a mayor of Limerick will not be published until April.

With input from Meath County Council, a new plan has been published for the conservation of the Hill of Tara in Co Meath as an archaeological site and a national landmark. This follows shameful vandalism at the ancient Lia Fáil standing stone on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath which sparked outrage earlier in the week.

Crawford Art Gallery is due for a seven-storey extension in Cork city following Cork Cork Council’s planning approval for the 300-year old structure.

The new An Coimisiún Toghcháin (the Electoral Commission) will take on a range of electoral functions ahead of next year’s local elections.

In Co. Cork, a grant of €60,079 has been approved for Cill na Martra GAA to enable them to develop a new surface and fence on the football pitch in Cill na Martra.

The Association of Irish Local Government presents an argument to exempt local politicians from obligations to declare earnings outside of politics.

Finally, the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery, and Reform has published a new Report in its Review of Ireland’s Statutory Framework for Ethics in Public Office. You can find the full report here!


Irish house price developments and prospects

This LGIU policy briefing explores the topic of house prices and over valuation in further detail and analyses the possible trends for the near future.

What can Irish local authorities learn from the rest of Europe?

Click here to check out this LGIU briefing on  supporting affordable housing delivery for a fair and just recovery. 

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!

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.

While last week we saw the new Vacant Homes Action Plan launch alongside a new €150 million fund for local authorities to tackle vacancy and dereliction to support the plan, this week the 2022 statistics show 765 applied for the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant Statistics 2022, with only 105 accepted so far.

Laois County Council takes the lead on ghost housing estates by moving to take over 11 private estates.

Significant improvements to the Local Authority Home Loan that will result in more people being eligible to apply for the State-backed mortgage. The prices of homes eligible for a Local Authority Home Loan and income limits of those eligible to apply for a loan are being increased. You can find the full local authority breakdown of increases here!

Finally, plan ahead for 2023 by checking out updates from the Housing Agency on the research pipeline for 2023.

Climate and the Environment

COP-26: One Year On – Global Local Executive Panel

Composed of Council Chief Executives from Ireland, the UK and Australia, this panel summary highlights all that has happened in the last twelve months and the ongoing implications for local government from the COP-26 discussions and resolutions.

A first step at estimating the cost of compliance with EU climate targets, the Spending Review 2023: Estimating the Potential Cost of Compliance with 2030 Climate & Energy Targets report finds that failure to implement additional measures, as presented in the Climate Action Plan 2023, will
very likely result in compliance costs for the State. Find the full report here!

The role of the friendly beaver. With most European countries re-establishing beaver populations, this BBC report considers the valuable role of the animal for wetlands, an important carbon sink.

In a similar vein, the Curlew LIFE project in N. Ireland began in October 2020 aims for a 2024 goal of enhanced habitat conditions to lead to stable curlew populations within project sites.

Regulations this week provides extensions on the exemption which allows for the onsite burning of agricultural green waste in certain limited circumstances. Found out more here!

The Greater Skellig Coast joins 148 others already designated spots, including the Galápagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and parts of Antarctica. Designed by MissionBlue, you can find out more here!

Travel and infrastructure

Local government response to an international crisis: Ukrainian refugees

Since March 2022, approx. 70,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to Ireland. This briefing looks in particular at how Clare County Council has managed the various national and local refugee initiatives (such as Offer A Home) and the challenges they’ve faced in the resettlement process.

Active travel database- The LGMA and Road Management Office’s new software upgrade to the MapRoad Asset Management System will capture existing and future cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and projects.

Learnings from Gothenburg’s congestion charge? This BBC report compares Sweden and Cambridgeshire’s congestion charges.

Northern Ireland

What makes Northern Ireland the happiest region in these islands?  This LGIU blog examines possible drivers behind the North’s wellbeing and how this sits with the regions long-standing socio-economic issues.

Dithering and delaying? The NI Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris introduced legislation to delay the requirement for forming an executive and holding an assembly election until January 2024.

Protocol politics continued in the Supreme Court this week. While the Court notes the conflict between the Protocol and the Acts of Union, the highly-anticipated ruled that the NI Protocol is legal.

Meanwhile, Pivotal PPF published a timely new policy briefing examining who is governing NI and what this means for public services and administration. You can find the full briefing here!

Founded 260 years ago, Gracehill village is part of a joint-bid for UNESCO status as a World Heritage Site status.

Derry City and Strabane District Council committee voted to scrap a one-way traffic scheme in the City following a Council report’s recommendations and significant community opposition.

Finally,Queen’s University is one of several organisations teaming up in the first All-Ireland Cancer Network (AllCaN). Described as a “game changer”, you can find out more from the BBC here!

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.

Stay tuned!

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