Town councils in the Republic of Ireland

In Ireland, a town council was part of the second (or lower) tier of local government. Operating in smaller towns and cities, they exercised limited functions which were subsidiary to those of their relevant county council. The term was introduced into local government in Ireland by the Local Government Act 2001. From 1 January 2002 the existing urban district councils and boards of town commissioners were renamed as town councils. Additionally, the city of Kilkenny, along with the four towns of (Sligo, Drogheda, Clonmel, and Wexford) were reduced in status to the level of town council. In recognition of the previous history, the towns were permitted to use the title of "borough council" instead of "town council". There were 75 other town councils in addition to these five borough councils. Outside the towns, the county councils were solely responsible for local services.

On 16 October 2012, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government published Putting People First, an "action plan for effective local government".[1] The Town Councils were abolished in June 2014 when the Local Government Reform Act 2014 was implemented.[2]

Town councils (2002–2014)Edit

Town council County Previous status
Ardee County Louth Town commissioners
Arklow County Wicklow Urban district
Athlone County Westmeath Urban district
Athy County Kildare Urban district
Balbriggan Fingal Town commissioners
Ballina County Mayo Urban district
Ballinasloe County Galway Urban district
Ballybay County Monaghan Town commissioners
Ballyshannon County Donegal Town commissioners
Bandon County Cork Town commissioners
Bantry County Cork Town commissioners
Belturbet County Cavan Town commissioners
Boyle County Roscommon Town commissioners
Birr County Offaly Urban district
Bray County Wicklow Urban district
Buncrana County Donegal Urban district
Bundoran County Donegal Urban district
Carlow County Carlow Urban district
Carrickmacross County Monaghan Urban district
Carrick-on-Suir South Tipperary Urban district
Cashel South Tipperary Urban district
Castlebar County Mayo Urban district
Castleblayney County Monaghan Urban district
Cavan County Cavan Urban district
Clonakilty County Cork Urban district
Clones County Monaghan Urban district
Cobh County Cork Urban district
Cootehill County Cavan Town commissioners
Dundalk County Louth Urban district
Dungarvan County Waterford Urban district
Edenderry County Offaly Town commissioners
Ennis County Clare Urban district
Enniscorthy County Wexford Urban district
Fermoy County Cork Urban district
Gorey County Wexford Town commissioners
Granard County Longford Town commissioners
Greystones County Wicklow Town commissioners
Kells County Meath Urban district
Kilkee County Clare Town commissioners
Killarney County Kerry Urban district
Kilrush County Clare Urban district
Kinsale County Cork Urban district
Leixlip County Kildare Town commissioners
Letterkenny County Donegal Urban district
Lismore County Waterford Town commissioners
Listowel County Kerry Urban district
Longford County Longford Urban district
Loughrea County Galway Town commissioners
Macroom County Cork Urban district
Mallow County Cork Urban district
Midleton County Cork Urban district
Monaghan County Monaghan Urban district
Mountmellick County Laois Town commissioners
Muine Bheag County Carlow Town commissioners
Mullingar County Westmeath Town commissioners
Naas County Kildare Urban district
Navan County Meath Urban district
Nenagh North Tipperary Urban district
Newbridge County Kildare Town commissioners
New Ross County Wexford Urban district
Passage West County Cork Town commissioners
Port Laoise County Laois Town commissioners
Shannon County Clare Town commissioners
Skibbereen County Cork Urban district
Templemore North Tipperary Urban district
Thurles North Tipperary Urban district
Tipperary South Tipperary Urban district
Tralee County Kerry Urban district
Tramore County Waterford Town commissioners
Trim County Meath Urban district
Tuam County Galway Town commissioners
Tullamore County Offaly Urban district
Westport County Mayo Urban district
Wicklow County Wicklow Urban district
Youghal County Cork Urban district

Borough councils (2002–2014)Edit

Borough County
Clonmel South Tipperary
Drogheda County Louth
Kilkenny County Kilkenny
Sligo County Sligo
Wexford County Wexford

Establishing and dissolving town councilsEdit

Under Section 185 of the 2001 Act, new town councils could be established in any town with a population of at least 7,500. The application had to be made by at least 100 local government electors, or 10% of the electors of the proposed town, whichever is the greater. After a period of public consultation, the application was considered by the county council for the area in which the town is situated. The county council's recommendation was referred to the Local Government Commission. If the commission approved the establishment of a town council, an order signed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government formally created the new council.

Under Section 187 of the same act, a town council could apply to the minister to be dissolved.

Elected membersEdit

Elections were held to town councils every five years. Towns were not subdivided for local elections, being treated as a single constituency. Councillors were elected by the single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The towns of Bray, Dundalk and Tralee had twelve elected members, all other towns had nine. A town council with nine members could apply for the number to be increased to twelve if the population was greater than 15,000 at the previous census.

Titles of chairpersonsEdit

The chairperson and deputy of a town council were designated as Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach respectively. However, Schedule 8 of the Local Government Act 2001 allowed alternative titles for the individuals elected to chair town councils, namely:

  • In the Irish language Méara Bhaile ....... and Leas-Mhéara Bhaile ....... followed by the name of the town in Irish
  • In the English language Mayor of the Town of ....... and Deputy Mayor of the Town of ....... followed by the name of the town in English

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Putting People First" (PDF). Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  2. ^

External linksEdit