Local government and local economic development: perceptions and experiences of the Local Government (Reform) Act 2014
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Local government is an important service provider to the people of Ireland. It is also a key component in the democratic structures of the State. However in comparison with other countries, Ireland is seen as highly centralised and, consequently, Irish local authorities have a very limited range of functions. Numerous government reports advocating for increased decentralisation have not been implemented. As a result, many important public services continue to be provided and managed by central government or its agencies, with limited local accountability. The 2014 Local Government Reform Act sought to redress this situation by empowering local authorities to lead local economic development. Having identified key themes and concepts arising from a review of literature on decentralisation and sub-national governance, this thesis elicits experiences and perceptions of the 2014 legislation. Data were gathered through a series of semi-structured interviews. The research participants hold senior positions in the public service and were closely involved in framing or delivering the new role conferred on local authorities. The data from the research provide insights that add value to what the literature suggests, but also question some of the perceived wisdoms about subnational governance in Ireland. Notwithstanding their limited functions, local authorities enjoy considerable autonomy and have used this to drive economic development. In essence, local authorities demonstrate an ability to exert soft power in their interfacing with others. Chief Executives emerge as key and powerful figures in this scenario. The research points to the need for further operationalisation of key performance indicators in respect of local economic development.
Local economic development
Local Government (Reform) Act 2014
Language (ISO 639-3)eng
PublisherMary Immaculate College, University of Limerick
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