As part of the Government’s reform of local government as set out in Putting People First- Action Programme for Effective Local Government (pdf), the Local Government Reform Act 2014 provided for the existing 8 regional authorities and 2 regional assemblies to be replaced by 3 new regional assemblies. The new assemblies were established with effect from 1 January 2015 by the Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Assemblies) (Establishment) Order 2014 (SI 573 of 2014).
The membership of a regional assembly consists of members of the local authorities within the region:
- The Northern and Western Regional Assembly has 21 members and covers the county councils of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Galway, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon and Sligo and the city council of Galway.
- The Southern Regional Assembly has 27 members and covers the county councils of Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford, the city council of Cork, and the city and county councils of Limerick and Waterford.
- The Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly has 35 members and covers the county councils of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Kildare, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, South Dublin, Westmeath and Wicklow and the city council of Dublin.
The aim of the new assemblies is to co-ordinate, promote or support strategic planning and sustainable development and promote effectiveness in local government and public services. Their main function will be to draw up regional spatial and economic strategies. These will replace the current regional planning guidelines and will be drawn up in conjunction with the various enterprise and economic development agencies. The existing regional planning guidelines will remain in place until these new strategies are drawn up. The 2014 Act sets out the details of how the strategies are to be developed.