Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform John Paul Phelan, has announced that he has presented a report on Local Government structures in Cork and Galway to Government.
The report endorses the recommendations of the Galway Expert Advisory Group for the amalgamation of Galway City and County Councils, to provide a geographically balanced and integrated approach to economic development throughout the entire county of Galway and better reflect the economic importance of Galway and the Western region.
The main recommendations of the Government Report are as follows:
The scheduled 2019 local elections should be held to the two existing local authorities as currently constituted, but the amalgamation should happen no later than 2021.
The members elected in 2019 to each local authority should combine to form the membership of the unified Galway City and County Council on the date of amalgamation, with the first elections to the unified authority to be held in 2024.
The recommended amalgamation must be preceded by addressing noted deficiencies in both human and financial resources noted by the Group.
At representational level, the structure of Municipal Districts must be strengthened and their full potential explored and resourced.
As a first step, the Minister will shortly publish a legislative provision for the appointment of a single chief executive with dual responsibility for Galway City and County Councils, who will be able to initiate administrative integration across the two local authorities arising from a recent Expert Advisory Group report.
Welcoming the report, Minister Phelan said “This is the first step towards establishing a new unified Galway authority, which will maximise the potential of the region to maintain, secure and grow a sustainable economic base into the future. A unified council will provide a geographically balanced and integrated approach to economic development throughout Galway and further boost its vibrant cultural and artistic milieu.”