The Local Government Act 2001 (Section 237A) Regulations 2003 set out statutory provisions for local authorities and their dealings with members of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Regulations provide, inter alia, for the supply of specified documentation by the local authority to local Oireachtas members, including notice, agenda and minutes of local authority meetings as well as the local authority budget, development plan, planning applications/decisions and proposed bye-laws. Each local authority must deal with requests for access to information by Oireachtas members as expeditiously as possible and in accordance with a proper level of customer service. In this regard, local authorities are required to put in place arrangements to ensure that systems, procedures and time frames equivalent to those used by them in relation to correspondence from local authority members also apply in respect of parliamentary representatives.
The Regulations also require that the Chief Executive, together with the Cathaoirleach, meets at least annually with local Oireachtas members and thus provide an opportunity for an update on developments and for any difficulties encountered to be raised and addressed. An Oireachtas member is also entitled to attend a meeting of a local authority or of a committee but does not have an entitlement to participate in a meeting.