Fintan O’Toole: Are we too stupid to be trusted with making choices about our own regions?

The lack of spending power at local level is an absence of power, full stop

Functions that are locally controlled in almost every other European country – policing, health and social care, schools – are in Ireland almost entirely controlled from the centre.

Functions that are locally controlled in almost every other European country – policing, health and social care, schools – are in Ireland almost entirely controlled from the centre.

I live in the United States for part of the year, in a prosperous university town. Property prices are high – and so are property taxes. It is not unusual for home owners to get an annual bill of $20,000.

And yet I’ve never heard anyone moaning about property tax. The reason is simple enough. People can see what they’re getting for their money: the superb local library, the excellent local schools, the bin collections, the snow ploughs that clear the roads, the police and the fire brigade. They can also take part in making decisions on how funding is allocated.

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