Athlone Boundary Review

Terms of Reference

 

 

  1. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government hereby establishes the Athlone Boundary Committee under section 28 of the Local Government Act 1991, hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”.

 

  1. The following persons are hereby appointed as members of the Committee: -

 

  • Jack Keyes (Chair);
  • Donal Enright; and
  • Ger Sheeran.           

 

  1. The Committee shall be independent in the performance of its functions and shall stand dissolved on submission of its final report to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

 

  1. In accordance with sections 32 and 33 of the Local Government Act 1991, the Committee is hereby required to-

 

-       carry out a review of the boundary between County Westmeath and County Roscommon;

-       make such recommendations with respect to that boundary, and any consequential recommendations with respect to the area of the Municipal District of Athlone, that it considers to be necessary in the interests of effective and convenient local government; and

-       prepare and furnish to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, a report in writing of that review and its recommendations.

 

  1. In the event of a recommendation that the  boundary between County Westmeath and County Roscommon and the area of the Municipal District of Athlone should be altered, the report shall contain relevant supporting information, analysis and rationale relating to or arising from such recommendation, including the following matters: -

 

(a)  The financial and other relevant implications, including the potential outcomes to be achieved, and likely benefits and costs.

(b)  Any significant issues that are considered likely to arise in the implementation of revised arrangements and how these should be addressed.

(c)  Measures that should be taken consequential to or in the context of the recommended arrangements, including any measures in relation to financial arrangements.

(d)   Any matters in relation to which provision should be made in a primary order or a supplementary order (providing for matters arising from, in consequence of, or related to, the boundary extension) within the meaning of section 34 of the Local Government Act 1991, including any financial adjustments required.

(e)  Any interim measures which should be taken, if necessary, in advance of, or in preparation for, the full implementation of the recommendations.

(f)   The appropriate timescale for implementation of recommendations, including any interim measures.

 

  1. In carrying out its review and formulating its recommendations, the Committee shall address the following matters in particular, insofar as relevant to the requirements of articles (4) and (5): -

 

(a)  The need to take full account of: -

 

(i)    current demographic and relevant spatial and socio-economic factors, including settlement and employment patterns;

(ii)  detailed information to be provided by the relevant local authorities in relation to their structure, services, finances and operations or other matters relevant to the Committee’s functions;

(iii) Government policy in relation to local government as set out in the Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, and in relation to the public service and the public finances.

(b)  The need to maximise efficiency and value for money in local government.

(c)  The need to ensure that the arrangements recommended are financially sustainable and will not result in an ongoing additional cost to central Government through increased subvention.

(d)  Staffing, organisational, representational, financial, service delivery and other relevant implications or requirements.

(e)  The need to ensure effective local government for Athlone and its hinterland, with particular regard to the need to maximise the economic performance and potential of the area; to facilitate the delivery of efficient and good value local authority services; and to ensure effective and accountable democratic representation.

(f)   The need to have regard to the identity and cohesion of local communities.

(g)  Any weaknesses in current local authority arrangements or operations that need to be addressed.

(h)  Any additional matters that the Minister may specify.

 

  1. The Committee shall make such recommendations with respect to the requirements at (4) and (5) and (6) as it considers necessary in the interests of effective and efficient local government. It shall prepare and furnish to the Minister, no later than the 31st March 2016, a report, in writing, of its review and recommendations, which the Minister shall publish.

 

 

June 2015