The Local Government Reform Act 2014 established municipal districts as the fundamental sub-county level of governance and democratic representation in the State. The 2014 local government reforms saw the abolition of 80 former Town Councils and their effective replacement by 95 municipal districts within 25 of the 31 local authorities. Municipal districts are now a key decision-making component of local government, with specified designated functions.
The Programme for Government specifically commits to ensuring a strong voice for towns at the heart of local authority decision making. It also commits to considering the review by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) regarding the role and operation of municipal districts with a view to strengthening local democracy and to identifying local needs and initiatives needed to strengthen and grow our communities, villages and towns in a sustainable manner.
The IPA's review was published on 25 June 2020 and is available on their website at https://www.ipa.ie/_fileUpload/Documents/MunicipalReport_June2020.pdf . The review identifies challenges and issues which if addressed could contribute to greater efficiency and effectiveness in the operation of municipal districts.
There are currently no plans to re-introduce Town Councils, but in line the with the commitments contained in the programme for government it is intended to consider the introduction of further measures to strengthen the system of municipal districts.