Consultants give thumbs up to Council merger

Galway County council's chamber.

The expert group set up review the feasibility of a plan to amalgamate Galway City and County Councils has given its support to the proposal.

However, the ‘Expert Advisory Group on Local Government Arrangements in Galway’, has warned that the level of resources currently available in the city and county at the moment is not conducive to the creation of the Greater Galway Authority (GGA).

In its interim report, the Group has recommended the appointment of a dedicated head of economic and physical development for the GGA.

The Group now moves on to its second and final phase of the review, which involves looking at political and administrative issues, and will involve extensive consultations. It will also look at the possibility of a mayor, elected by the people, to serve a five-year term.

The report was drawn up by the Group following ten meetings over the past five months on subjects including housing; transportation and water; environment, recreation and amenity; planning, economic development, community, enterprise and culture; finance, ICT and HR and corporate governance.

Group Chair, Professor Eoin O’Sullivan of Trinity College, said: “The Group unanimously agree that the findings to date from the analysis of the operational and administrative arrangements of both local authorities demonstrate that the creation of a GGA is technically and administratively feasible.

“In addition, the Group spent some time considering the economic development implications of the creation of a GGA. The Group see this as a critical element of any change, given the expanded role of local government in economic development, and the implications for growth and development in the region generally,” he added.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.