Governing Below the Centre

27th March 2012

Governing below the centre

Local governance is a concept that extends beyond the well-understood structures of local government which include county, city and town councils, to a much broader set of agencies. The local governance structure in Ireland is characterised by a large number of agencies - 22 distinct types totalling 491 across the country.

Authors Deiric Ó Broin and Eugene Waters show that despite the existence of this substantial infrastructure at local level:

  • the vast majority of public expenditure decisions continue to be made at national level;
  • a wide range of services delivered at local level are managed and planned at naional level with little or no regional autonomy;
  • local government in Ireland has fewer functions in comparison to other countries;
  • locally elected public representatives in Ireland play a much lesser role in policy formation and decision making than their European counterparts;
  • the ability of citizens to influence either policy formation or decision making is very narrow.

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