The Government decided in July 2011 that a unified local authority would be established to replace the existing north and south Tipperary county councils with effect from the 2014 local elections. An implementation group was appointed to oversee planning, preparatory work and initial implementation of the reorganisation process. The group submitted a progress report to me in November 2011, in accordance with its terms of reference. This report, which is published on my Department's website indicated good progress with the unification process and identified a range of positive outcomes from unification, including reduced administrative costs and overheads, effective deployment of human resources, more streamlined, effective and coherent delivery of customer services across the county, and streamlining of other existing county structures.
The implementation group had considered that both of the existing office headquarters in Clonmel and Nenagh should be retained with equal status and that a location in the centre of the county should be identified for meetings of the unified council. The implementation group is due to complete an implementation plan by May 2012, which will provide further details and guide the reorganisation process up to the establishment of the unified authority in 2014. Building on decisions already taken, including the merger of the county councils in Tipperary, I intend to bring wider policy proposals to Government in the near future on local government reform and development, with particular attention being given to strengthening local government structures generally at regional, county and sub-county levels and expanding the role of local government. Decisions on any further changes in local authority structures, including decisions on municipal governance within counties, will be a matter for the Government in that context.