Local government functions in the Republic of Ireland
are mostly exercised by thirty-four local authorities, termed county or city councils, which cover the entire territory of the state. A further eighty town councils have limited functions in their respective areas.
The principal decision-making body in each authority is composed of the members of the council, elected by universal franchise in local elections. Many of the authorities' statutory functions are, however, the responsibility of their chief executives, termed city or county managers, who are career officials appointed by an independent government body. The city and county councils have a range of functions in areas such as planning, transport infrastructure, sanitary services, public safety (notably fire services) and the provision of public libraries. In eighty smaller towns and cities within the functional area of county councils, a second tier of local government, the town councils, exercise some more limited functions subsidiary to those of the relevant county council.
The local government system is governed by the Local Government Acts
, the most recent of which, the (Local Government Act 2001
), established this two-tier structure of local government
. The Local Government Act 1898
is the founding document of the present system of local government. The Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
(1999) provided for constitutional recognition of local government for the first time in Ireland.