Seanad debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

10:30 am

Photo of Mark DalyMark Daly (Fianna Fail)

Before I call the next speaker, I point out that there are 949 local authority members, which is 678 fewer than there were a decade ago. We have the lowest rate of public representation at a local level of any country in Europe. The next nearest country in respect of the rate of local representation is the United Kingdom, which has twice as many public representatives per head of population as we do. It takes more to get elected to a local authority in Ireland than in any other country in Europe. In France, there is one public representative for every 78 people, while the ratio in Ireland is closer to one public representative for every 4,000 people.

There used to be 114 local authority areas when we had town and city councils, but that has now been reduced to 31 local authority areas. Therefore, while the areas have increased in size, so has the workload. Speakers have also addressed the issue of diversity, which is also a challenge for us in having more people involved in local government. One blockage to achieving that increased diversity relates to the terms and conditions associated with the role of elected local representatives.

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