Following on from enactment of the Local Government Act 2019, and as indicated during its passage through the Oireachtas, it is my intention, in the coming months, to publish legislation to place local authority cross boundary cooperation on a statutory basis.
What is envisaged is the establishment of Urban Area Committees for urban areas with a population between 1,500 and 100,000, where the results of a population census show that at least 1,500 persons or 10% of the population are living in the administrative area of another local authority. This would include Athlone, Bray, Carlow, Carrick-on-Shannon, Drogheda, Limerick, Portarlington and Waterford. The functions of UACs will be set out in the legislation in due course but, at this stage, I consider that the UACs could perform strategic and economic planning functions for the areas concerned.
Membership of each committee would be drawn from both local authorities and consist of councillors from the relevant local electoral areas as well as the Cathaoirleach of each of the local authorities. Provision for participation in a non-voting capacity for experts in the areas of planning, transport, infrastructure, housing and/or business could also be included.
I have recently met with a number of local authorities to discuss the proposals and I will engage in further consultation prior to finalising and publishing the legislation.