The Programme for a Partnership Government (PPG) sets out a number of requirements in relation to local government reform. This involves the submission of a report to Government and the Oireachtas on potential measures to boost local government leadership and accountability, and to ensure that local government funding, structures and responsibilities strengthen local democracy. The Programme also references some specific issues to be considered such as the concept of directly elected mayors in cities, devolution of new powers to local authorities, reducing the size of local electoral areas, and town council status.
It is intended that proposals to address the PPG requirements will be submitted to Government shortly, following which the matters involved will be referred to the Oireachtas for consideration. Among the issues being addressed in this context is the scope to strengthen the decision-making role and capacity of the elected members at municipal district level, particularly in relation to budgetary and local development matters, and capacity to promote economic and social development of towns. It should also be noted that municipal district members already have significant powers in the planning area, including responsibility for the adoption of local area plans.