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Local authorities


There are 29 County Councils in Ireland with a total of 753 members.

There is at least one Council for each county. Dublin county has 3 Councils including South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council. Tipperary county has 2 councils; North and South Tipperary.

The number of councillors that can be elected to each county council depends on the size of the county's population. For example, Cork County Council has 48 members and Carlow County Council has only 21.

The county council has jurisdiction or control throughout its administrative area. Within the county council administrative area there may be a borough or town council area. The county council may carry out the functions of the borough/town council within its area either jointly or separately with the borough/town councils.

As well as the county council, each county has a county manager. The county manager is the manager for each of the elected local authorities in the county.

There are 5 city councils. These include Cork City Council with 31 members, Dublin City Council with 52 members, Galway City Council with 15 members, Limerick City Council with 17 members and Waterford City Council with 15 members.

There are also 5 borough councils, including Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo, and Wexford and 75 town councils.

You can view a list of all local authorities.

Local government reform

In October 2012 the Government published Putting People First- Action Programme for Effective Local Government (pdf) which sets out Government policy for reforms across all the main areas of local government. Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 (pdf) all 80 existing town authorities are replaced by a comprehensive system of municipal districts, integrating town and county governance. The following local authorities are merged:

  • Tipperary North County Council and Tipperary South County Council
  • Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council
  • Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council

There is 31 city and county councils with integrated municipal districts. A councillor is elected simultaneously to both a municipal district and the county or city council.

The changes come into effect on the 1 June 2014. Further information on local government reform is available on the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government website.

Page updated: 25 March 2014



Related Documents

  • Political system at local level
    The role and responsibility of local authorities and overview of local government system at county/city level and at sub-county level.
  • Cathaoirleach of the Council
    Every local authority in Ireland elects a Cathaoirleach (or Chairman/Mayor) of a local authority in Ireland.
  • Local Elections in Ireland
    Local elections in Ireland take place every 5 years and allow your community elect representatives to local government.

Contact Us

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