All Things Ireland: What’s on in local government?

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

In a week where the fallout over Sunday’s events in Croke park captured headlines, LGIU Ireland has collected all the key reports, policy development and funding calls to keep Irish local government informed and connected.

LGIU Ireland updates

Oireachtas report: January 2023 where we examine the major legislation that went through the Oireachtas in December 2022 and what this means for local government in Ireland.

NASA, weather stations, schools and climate action: Innovation at Fingal County Council.  LGIU Ireland spoke to Executive Engineer, Kevin Vallely, whose funding through the CE Innovation Fund facilitated the award-winning – Weather Stations for Schools project.

Funding and finance

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.

The Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) launched a new six-year investment programme totalling €217m in European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) for Ireland’s Northern and Western region. Bringing together over 150 senior leaders from across Galway City and the region in Portershed, you can find out more here!

Successful applicants of the Stage 1 of the 2023-2027 LEADER programme are available here. Applicants will now move on to Stage 2 which will see them develop their LEADER Local Development Strategies to support sustainable development in rural communities.

€4m for cross-border research partnership aims to address structural and societal imbalances across the north west of Ireland. The four-year Atlantic Futures Project, focuses on sustainable regional development in the North West Atlantic Innovation Corridor region.

Community Recognition Fund is a major initiative designed to specifically support communities across the country that are hosting people from Ukraine and other countries. The €50 million package will provide funding for sports clubs, community organisations, transport infrastructure and local groups and every local authority in the country is set to benefit from the scheme.

Updates for local authorities

Digitising Local Government- Build to Share in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council

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.

Local government reform takes the lead this week.

Long-awaited, this Friday (27th) we saw the release the Dublin Citizen’s Assembly report on a directly elected Mayor for Dublin. With international insights provided by LGIU Ireland’s Content Commissioner, Dr. Sean O’Riordáin, you can read how 67 randomly-selected members recommend a powerful directly elected Mayor model for Dublin. 

Keep your eyes peeled this weekend as the Social Democrats host a local government reform discussion in Limerick. Presented by Dr. Brid Quinn, the discussion will kickstart policy documents concerning local government reform. Click here for more detail.

The first Gender Pay Gap Report from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage reports on the hourly gender pay gap in organisations across the range of metrics.

Athlone’s town bus service is to become Ireland’s first all-electric bus service following a €10 million investment by the NTA and is the first to launch under the government’s Pathfinder Programme – a package of transport projects delivered by state agencies and local authorities.

Launched this week, a new Galway Culture Company aims to work close with both Galway local authorities to build  on the legacies of Galway’s many European and Global designations and partnerships.

The Journal reports that Dublin City Council is carrying out a security review of Mansion House following the Lord Mayor’s concern after demonstrations by anti-immigration protestors last weekend.

Dublin City Council has appointed a new design team for the Parnell Square Project, with the first phase expected to be completed in 2027. The project includes a new Dublin City Library, as well as redesign works to the Hugh Lane Gallery and a number of Georgian houses and you can find more here.

‘Northwest in the City’, a Dublin-based event on February 9th, aims to promote the Northwest and spotlight the many positive transformational changes made in recent years. You can register here!

Regions in Focus 2023. Hosted by the Association of Irish Regions (AIR), this is the first Regional Seminar and Training Event and aims to explore the role of regions in navigating present and future challenges. Click here to register for the 2 day conference in Monaghan between February 7th-9th.

Locals Encouraged To Drop Into Community Living Rooms. To help provide a network of friendly drop-in locations for people across north Dublin, Fingal County Council has today launched a pilot initiative at three key centres that will give a welcoming and comfortable environment where people can feel at ease and at home.


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. 

In a wide-ranging interview with the Irish Times, Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan starts his final 9 months as Chief Executive with an intense focus on housing, outlining plans for the Council to acquire surplus land from institutional/religious groups, and rezone further land for housing. Read the full interview here!

Prepared by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the homelessness numbers for December 2022 can be found here.

Read the ICSH Social Housing Autumn/Winter 2022 newsletter, which includes coverage of our Biennial Finance & Development Conference 2022, the Building on Success: A Financial Roadmap for the AHB Sector publication.

Housing Finance Agency (HFA) is set to fund Mayo County Council to begin a pilot, in collaboration with housing solutions platform, Homebuyer’s Hero, aimed at turning some of Mayo’s 9,166 vacant properties back into homes. Starting with a pool of 30-50, you can read more about the pilot from the HFA here.

Reporting on housing figures for Q4 2022 shows an annual total of 29,581 new dwellings in 2022. The highest annual total since 2011, this weeks figures exceeds the Housing for All’s target of 24,600.

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.

Funding for locally led biodiversity projects doubled to €3 million and local Authorities can now apply for funding for 2023 projects!

Newly published, the Historic and Archaeological Heritage Bill 2023 modernises laws underpinning the protection of our archaeological heritage.

Finally, according to an analysis from energy consultants Baringa, just over a third of Irish electricity was generated by wind last year, new data shows.


Check out this LGIU Ireland briefing which examines the background to An Bord Pleanála Action Plan and outlines the major reforms which have been approved by the Government and announced by the Minister.

In a rush? Check out this blog which explains the role of the OPR in Ireland’s planning system.

Fancy a planning-focused distraction this weekend? Check out the OPR’s new podcast where Planning Regulator Niall Cussen discusses some of the OPR’s recent report’s key findings and makes observations on some of the key features which reflect Ireland’s planning performance.

A new year gift for frustrated planners, on the 20th December the Office of the Planning Regulator published the second part of its review of An Bord Pleanála. Welcomed by the Irish Planning Institute, the report contains 23 recommendations ranging from organisational decision-making,  communications, and governance arrangements of case files. Read the full report here!

Updates on the delivery of the National Broadband Plan gives highlights on the 2022 programme

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.

In less-jolly news, Belfast City Council are to provide Irish speaking tours of City Cemetery and will focus on the city’s development in the nineteenth century and the people behind the revival of the Irish language, including the role of Protestant Irish enthusiasts.

The Executive Office will receive the £10,500 tariff (£5,900 from 1 January 2023) and ‘thank you’ payments from DLUHC and will distribute this funding to Northern Irish councils.

Transport and Infrastructure

How are local governments across the world advancing active travel?

This Global Local bulletin examines how local governments “weather proof” active travel solutions with a focus on nordic countries.

Meanwhile in Australia, this LGIU briefing examines how local governments fast track active travel and placed based investments with a focus on the benefits and challenges.


Greater Dublin Area, 2022-2042 from the National Transport Authority outlines a key focus on sustainable active travel. Other key proposals include a Luas extensions to Finglas, Lucan, Poolbeg and Bray, 100km of electrified rail under DART+ Programme and the Metrolink from north of Swords to Charlemont.

Two senior county council officials hammered home the impacts of climate change on Cork County’s roads, as rainfall in the last three months has had a severe impact on the condition of Cork’s 12 000km of roads.

A new Electric Vehicles Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022 – 2025 will see €100 million spent on public charging infrastructure over the next three years. The delivery of a national EV charging network will see a pool of high-powered chargers every 60 km on our motorway network, with success success hinging on support and collaboration with local authorities.

Whats on in Scottish local governments?

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 picked two updates from Scotland’s weekly policy round up.

Leading the weeks news was a report from the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee announcing that Scotland will not meet its ambitious target of being net zero by 2045 without a more empowered local government sector. Focusing on the relationship between local democracy and climate action by highlighting local governments democratic credentials, local knowledge, a capacity to lead by example and well-placed partnerships.

Working at home or in the office? The growth of hybrid working in local government. Using case studies from two Scottish local authorities, this briefing looks at home and hybrid working, exploring how local governments face this evolving and change landscape.

Stay tuned!

Next week LGIU Ireland will bring you a new briefing tin our series that examines the work of the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC).

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