All Things Ireland – Cuban doctors in Fermanagh and a spotlight on Ireland’s planning system

Welcome to All Things Ireland and dive into the week of local government!

All Things Ireland is one of the many ways LGIU keeps the local government community in Ireland up-to-date on all the key policy developments. To never miss a thing, you need access to our exclusive resources and our full Daily News service – one email, every morning with everything you need: breaking news, briefings, reports, training, events and so much more (only available to members – find out more about LGIU membership here). 

Dive into all things local government this week in Ireland

This week certainly brought the unexpected. Whether it was the direct spotlight thrown on Ireland’s planning system, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s request to Cuba for help at a Fermanagh hospital and a DUP MP’s motion in the House of Commons to celebrate the contributions of Dolly Parton.

Nevertheless, All Things Ireland is here to bring you the key reports and updates to keep your week in Irish local government informed, resourced and connected.

The latest LGIU Ireland analysis

This week’s policy briefing:

Briefing – How Clare County Council is building up its rural communities: a case study. Given the significance of the original strategy – and now the renewed strategy – this case study from LGIU’s Research Team showcases the exciting innovation coming from Ireland’s 2022 Local Authority of the Year and offers several lessons and insights into the area of rural development.

Article – See Her Elected and the campaign for equality in 2024 local elections and beyond. As part of LGIU’s coverage for International Women’s Day, Dr Michelle Maher, Programme Manager of See Her Elected, discusses how they are working to increase women’s participation in local government, especially ahead of the 2024 local elections.

Publication – In conversation with Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council. As part of LGIU’s series on local government leadership, Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council discusses how Limerick is navigating the challenges and opportunities of local government in 2023.

Housing and planning

The state of the private rental market: Accommodation availability

Accommodation availability and affordability are the main overarching issues in the private rental market, the first of which is considered in this briefing, which reviews how the market has evolved, factors underlying factors, and questions regarding future prospects. The related issue of rents and affordability will be considered shortly in a further briefing.

New funding model for social homes – Changes to the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) funding model, the main funding scheme used by the Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) sector to provide social housing, aims to address funding issues in rural areas and towns.

€3m for community safety – Launching the 2023 Community Safety Innovation Fund (CSIF) funding call, funding is available to “support the development of community safety through innovative, local community based initiatives.”

“the most bureaucratic planning systems in the world” (Irish Times) – Reporting on the recent housing conference in Dublin on the 22nd, planning expert John Downey has strong words on the scale and effects of planing delays in Ireland.

Coincidentally, this week the Irish Times also reported on the €13m rise in projected costs for a Dublin City Council housing regeneration project since 2020 approval.

Key updates in Irish local authorities

A shared approach to digitising Local Government?

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council shares the details of 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.

Job creation initiative in County Wexford – Turning sod this week, the Trinity Wharf development aims to provide ideal property solution for the world’s leading companies to invest and grow by delivering a public private partnership of €110 million investment in the flagship project.

Dublin waste removal – PURE Project, made up of voluntary and statutory bodies removed around 140 tonnes of illegally dumped waste was removed from more than 700 locations in the Dublin and Wicklow uplands last year.” (RTE).

Housing pressure fears – Amid debates across the island over what the end of the eviction ban will mean for housing pressures, Cork County Council’s housing directorate remarked concern on the availability of emergency accommodation as the local authority seeks to expand its own network.

Review of tender processes – Finding flaws in Fingal County Council’s tendering process, auditor Daragh McMahon found several instances of projects undergoing tender without a competitive process, something which Fingal announced it will now review. (The Journal)

Infrastructure and transport

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

This is part of our series of briefings dealing with the Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) Value for Money (VFM) Reports. In particular, will 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

You can read our Global Local newsletter on the topic of potholes and road maintenance here.

Progress in Wexford’s flood relief scheme – Chief Executive of Wexford County Council, Mr. Tom Enright welcomed the appointment of Nicholas O’Dwyer Ltd. Consulting Engineers, and the commencement of the design of the Flood Relief Scheme for Wexford Town and Environs. A  €1.3 billion investment in flood relief measures under the National Development Plan, as part of Project Ireland 2040, Wexford County Council is the Lead Authority in the delivery of Flood Relief Scheme for Wexford Town and Environs.

Commercial waste legislation – From July 1st, new legislation to incentivise charging for waste collection in the commercial sector follows a 2018 EPA study that found 70% of the contents of the average commercial waste bin could be diverted to recycling.

Though piece of Smart Cities – Mani Dhingra from Maynooth University investigates the conceptual definitions (or lack thereof) the term Smart Cities and surmises that the impetus for Smart Cities lies behind the wider focus on “how to remake cities for continued economic development with the consent of its people.” (RTE).

Dublin’s best cycle route- A report from Technological University Dublin finds the Coastal Mobility Cycle Route route is an “effective addition for the people of Dún Laoghaire and Dublin” in terms of transport usage by various parts of society and local businesses.

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 practices and innovation, this week we look at two new policy areas in Scotland:

Up to standard? The condition of social housing

One of our new policy briefings for the UK looks at the condition of social housing across the four areas of decent homes, damp and mould, fire safety and energy efficiency. Along with data showing the condition of homes, it flags up what more can be done, with examples of work undertaken by local authorities.

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).

Meeting the challenges of an ageing society

With Councils and the NHS facing major financial challenges, this briefing also highlights the tension between ‘free at the point of delivery’ public services and the dominance in the government of public choice models of service delivery.

You can find all this and more in our new All Things Scotland edition here.

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