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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001
Local Government Commission
Establishment of Local Government Commission.
89. —(1) The Minister shall by order establish in accordance with this Part a body to be known as the Local Government Commission (in this Part referred to as the “Commission”) to perform the functions assigned to it by this Act.
(2) The Commission and its members are independent in the performance of their functions.
(3) (a) The Minister may by regulations prescribe any matter of procedure as regards the appointment and operation of the Commission or the carrying out of its functions.
(b) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a), regulations under that paragraph may provide for any of the following:
(i) the designation of organisations for the purposes of making nominations to which subparagraph (iii) relates in respect of section 91 (3)(a);
(ii) the designation of organisations for the purposes of making nominations to which subparagraph (iii) relates in respect of section 91 (3)(b);
(iii) the making of nominations by organisations to which subparagraphs (i) and (ii) relate, when so requested by the Minister within such period of time as is specified;
(iv) the making of an appointment to the Commission for the purposes of section 91 (3)(a) from among those persons duly nominated;
(v) the making of an appointment to the Commission for the purposes of section 91 (3)(b) from among persons duly nominated;
(vi) the conduct of an oral hearing held by the Commission under section 93 (6), the procedures at such hearing and the attendance by local authorities or other persons at such hearing.
Functions of Commission.
90. —(1) The Commission shall carry out the functions conferred on it by this Act in relation to—
(a) the alteration of local authority boundaries under Part 8,
(b) the alteration of local electoral areas and of the number of members assigned to those areas under section 23 ,
(c) the alteration of the number of members of a local authority under section 22 ,
(d) the establishment of a town council under section 185 ,
(e) an application by a town council under section 187 ,
(f) any matter arising on a request under subsection (2),
and shall prepare and furnish to the Minister a report in accordance with those provisions and this Part.
(2) The Minister may request in writing the Commission under this subsection to prepare a report with respect to—
(a) any matter relating to any aspect of local government specified by the Minister in such request, either generally or in relation to a specified local authority, or
(b) the boundary of any administrative or geographical district or other division used for any purpose of public administration connected with or related to local government or any such district or other division which it is proposed to establish.
(3) A report of the Commission to the Minister under subsection (1) shall—
(a) be in writing,
(b) include the recommendations of the Commission in relation to the matters which are the subject of the report, and
(c) include recommendations in relation to such ancillary or related matters (including financial matters) as the Commission may consider appropriate or as the Minister may specify in a request under subsection (4)(b).
(4) (a) In relation to any function referred to in subsection (1), the Minister may request the Commission to have regard to such considerations or matters in preparing its report as are specified in the request and the Commission shall comply with any such request.
(b) Where the Minister specifies in a request under this section, a report of the Commission shall include the recommendations of the Commission in relation to such ancillary or related matters (including financial matters) as may be specified in such request.
(5) (a) The Minister shall publish a report furnished to him or her by the Commission.
(b) The Minister shall have regard to such report in carrying out his or her functions under and in accordance with the provisions specified in subsection (1).
Members of Commission.
91. —(1) Subject to section 92 (9), the Commission consists of not more than 5 and not less than 3 members, one of whom shall be the chairperson of the Commission.
(2) The chairperson shall be appointed by the Minister.
(3) The members shall be appointed by the Minister and shall include—
(a) a person having knowledge or experience of local government affairs,
(b) a person having knowledge or experience in the field of business, commerce, administration or community development,
(c) an officer of the Minister.
(4) A member of the Commission shall not take part in the preparation of a report with respect to a local authority if he or she is an employee of that authority.
(5) To enable it to carry out its functions the members of the Commission shall be appointed in accordance with this section from time to time as required.
Eligibility and tenure of office of members, etc.
92. —(1) A person appointed to be a member of the Commission holds office as such member for such period (not exceeding 3 years) as may be specified by the Minister at the time of the appointment.
(2) The chairperson and any other member of the Commission may be paid out of moneys at the disposal of the Minister, such remuneration (if any) and allowances for expenses incurred by the member as the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may determine.
(3) (a) A person is disqualified from becoming a member of the Commission if he or she is—
(i) a member of either House of the Oireachtas,
(ii) a member of the European Parliament, or
(iii) a member of a local authority.
(b) A person ceases to be a member of the Commission if he or she—
(i) is nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann, or
(ii) is elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or as a member of the European Parliament, or
(iii) is regarded under Part XIII of the Second Schedule to the European Parliament Elections Act, 1997 , as having been elected to the European Parliament to fill a vacancy, or
(iv) becomes a member of a local authority.
(4) The chairperson or any other member of the Commission may at any time resign from office by letter addressed to the Minister and the resignation takes effect from the date of receipt of the letter by the Minister.
(5) Where a casual vacancy occurs among the members of the Commission, the Minister may appoint a person under this subsection to fill such vacancy who shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office of the replaced member.
(6) The Minister may remove from office any member (including the chairperson) of the Commission if, in the opinion of the Minister, that person has become incapable through ill-health of effectively performing the duties of the office or has committed stated misbehaviour or that person's removal appears to the Minister to be necessary or desirable for the effective performance by the Commission of its functions.
(7) A person may be re-appointed to be a member of the Commission.
(8) Subject to this section and section 91 , the chairperson and other members of the Commission shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the Minister may determine.
(9) (a) Notwithstanding section 91 (1), the Minister may by order under this subsection increase the number of members of the Commission to not more than 7 members where in the opinion of the Minister it is necessary taking account of the volume of business coming before the Commission and the need to ensure the effective and efficient discharge by the Commission of its functions, but any such increase is for such temporary period as shall be specified in the order.
(b) A person appointed as an additional member of the Commission by virtue of an order under this subsection may be appointed under subsection (5) to fill a casual vacancy among the members of the Commission.
Meetings and procedures of Commission.
93. —(1) (a) The Commission shall hold such and so many meetings as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.
(b) The quorum for a meeting of the Commission is 3.
(2) The chairperson of a meeting of the Commission shall be—
(a) the chairperson of the Commission if present, or
(b) if and so long as the chairperson of the Commission is not present or if the office of chairperson is vacant, the members of the Commission who are present shall choose one of their number to be chairperson of the meeting.
(3) At a meeting of the Commission—
(a) each member of the Commission present has a vote, and
(b) every question at a meeting of the Commission shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting on the question and, in the case of an equal division of votes, the chairperson of the meeting has a second or casting vote.
(4) Subject to subsection (1)(b), the Commission may act notwithstanding one or more vacancies in its membership.
(5) Subject to this Act, the Commission shall regulate, by standing orders or otherwise, the procedure and business of the Commission.
(6) (a) The Commission has an absolute discretion to hold an oral hearing in relation to any matter in respect of which functions are conferred on it by this Act and the hearing may be conducted by one or more members of the Commission or by a person appointed by the Commission for that purpose.
(b) The member or members of the Commission or other person appointed to conduct an oral hearing under paragraph (a) shall make a report in writing on the hearing to the Commission and shall include in the report such recommendations as are considered appropriate with respect to the subject of the report.
(c) The Commission shall consider a report made to it under paragraph (b) before deciding on the recommendations that it will make in its report.
(d) An oral hearing may be conducted in Irish or in English or in both languages and the Commission shall take appropriate steps to encourage the use of the Irish language.
(7) Where the number of members of the Commission has been increased by order under section 92 (9), any function of the Commission may be exercised by a division of the Commission comprising of at least 3 of its members and meetings and decisions of any such division are, for all purposes, decisions of the Commission.
Services to Commission.
94. —(1) A local authority or a public authority may supply to the Commission, on such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the relevant authority and the Commission, any services, including services of staff, required by the Commission for the performance of any of its functions.
(2) (a) The Minister may supply to the Commission, on such terms or conditions as he or she may specify, any services, including services of staff, required by the Commission for the performance of any of its functions.
(b) To assist and advise the Commission in the performance of any of its functions, the Commission may request the Minister to arrange for the supply to it of the services of persons having expert knowledge likely to be of value to it in its work and the Minister shall consider any such request.
(3) The Director General of the Central Statistics Office and the Commissioner of Valuation shall, on a request being made, provide free of charge to the Commission such assistance as the Commission may reasonably require for the purpose of the performance of any of its functions.
Submissions to Commission.
95. —(1) The Commission shall as soon as practicable give public notice of its intention to prepare a report under a provision mentioned in section 90 (1).
(2) The public notice referred to in subsection (1), which shall be published in a newspaper circulating in the area to which the subject matter of the report relates, shall indicate that—
(a) any person may make a submission to the Commission in relation to the subject matter of the report to be prepared by the Commission in a manner and within the period as is specified in the notice, and
(b) submissions received by the Commission within the period specified in the notice referred to in paragraph (a) shall be made available for public inspection.
(3) The Commission shall consider any submission made to it in accordance with such notice or made by a local authority under this section or otherwise.
(4) The submissions received by the Commission under this section are open to public inspection at such time and place and under such conditions as may be specified by the Commission and the Commission shall permit a copy of such submission or of extracts from them to be taken on payment of a fee which shall not exceed the reasonable cost of copying the submissions.
(5) (a) A local authority shall comply with a request in writing from the Commission to furnish to the Commission such information and particulars as the Commission may reasonably require for the purposes of any of its functions.
(b) The information requested under paragraph (a) shall be supplied by the local authority to the Commission within such period as is specified in the request.
(6) Without the consent of the Commission, a person shall not disclose to any person any information obtained while serving as a member of the Commission or as a person whose services are made available to the Commission under section 94 , which relates to the business of the Commission or the performance of the functions of the Commission.
(7) A person who contravenes subsection (6) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500.
(8) Summary proceedings for an offence under this section may be brought by the Minister.