Posted by: Dr. Breffni Lennon | October 23, 2012

New Regional Assemblies Announced

Ireland after NAMA

Today’s announcement of local government reform included substantial changes to the organisation of regional government and governance in Ireland. The current eight regional authorities and two regional assemblies will disappear and be replaced by three regional assemblies. No doubt, the current system is non-functional but we would argue that the new situation is a retrograde step for bottom-up regional development.

To support this argument, let us first take a look at the evolution of the current system. Regional governance has never been high on the agenda of the Irish state. But during the 1980s and 1990s, the European Union placed growing emphasis on developing a regional input into the spending of structural funds within member states. It was only under this pressure by the EU that the Irish government establishing the eight regional authorities in 1994. It was a token gesture to secure structural funds. The boundaries were established in…

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