Limerick local authorities to merge

Tue, Jun 28, 2011, 01:00

The Government has announced that Limerick County and City councils are to be merged into a single local authority.

The merger will come into effect following the 2014 local elections.

Minister for the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan said it could potentially save €15 million per year. “This decision will allow the authority to address the social, economic and administrative issues affecting Limerick by the creation of a single local authority under the leadership of a single elected council and single management,” he said.

Mr Hogan said new management arrangements would come into force at the councils early next year. It is not known how many jobs will be lost as a result of the reorganisation process.

The decision to merge the councils is one of a number of recommendations included in a report by the Limerick Local Government Committee, which was published last September.

Mr Hogan decided against implementing one of the committee’s more radical suggestions, which was that a 5km sq area of Co Clare be transferred to Limerick.

The Minister said the merger would allow the new local authority to harmonise the rates paid by businesses in the city and that the council rate of €59.91 would replace the city rate of €76.46. He also said the proposal would free up of resources for projects such as the revitalisation of Limerick’s city centre and regeneration in the city.

“There is wide agreement on the need for urgent, decisive change in local government in Limerick,” Mr Hogan said. “The decisions that we have taken will provide for successful transition to much stronger local government for Limerick which is essential to the future success of the City and its region.”

The Minister said the decision to restructure the councils was one of a number in the local government that he expected to come into force. He said staffing levels at Dublin City Council were among the other areas under review.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the decision will have a significant economic benefit for both the city and the county. “Limerick is a key gateway city and the merger of the two local authorities will position the city for the economic advances which are necessary for the benefit of the people of Limerick,” he said.

Mr Noonan, a Fine Gael TD for Limerick City, said the integration of key services in the city and the county lead to significant savings. “These savings should be used in the first instance to reduce the rates paid by the retail sector."

The Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council Cllr Richard Butler welcomed the development. “The most important issue at the centre of this debate has been the betterment of the people of Limerick city and county,” he said.