Kilkenny County Council - History


This structure is a modified version of the system introduced in 1898, with county boroughs renamed as cities, urban districts and municipal boroughs renamed as towns or boroughs, and rural districts abolished (everywhere except County Dublin in 1925, and in County Dublin in 1930). The distinction between urban district and "towns with town commissioners" has been abolished.

The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 marked the beginning of the system of local government. The first elections were held in Kilkenny until Thursday 6 April 1899 at a cost of £1,268. The first meeting of Kilkenny County Council took place on Saturday 22 April 1899 in the Courthouse, Kilkenny. The very first resolution passed expressed the demand for Home Rule. The Rural District Councils were responsible for housing, sanitary and local roads in their areas, while in their role as Boards of Guardians they were responsible for what we would now call health services.

County Councils were responsible for financial affairs, appointments of various committees, maintenance of courthouses and minor services such as food and drug sampling, malicious injuries and other minor services. During the 1960s a range of new services came into the fold – library, fire-fighting, vocational and agricultural services, industrial and commercial issues, and harbour boards. In 1970 the Health Board came into being, taking away responsibility for this service from Kilkenny County Council.

County Council legislation passed in the last 30 years on the Environment included Water Pollution Act 1977 and the Air Pollution Act 1987. Also provision of public amenities, parks and recreational activities and refuse collection was privatised.

In 1989, the Council appointed an Arts Officer. In 2000, as part of a government initiative called "Better Local Government - A Programme for Change", a new structure was introduced to Kilkenny County Council which included five Strategic Policy Committees.

The Local Government Act 2001 established a two-tier structure of local government. The top tier of the structure consists of 29 county councils and five city councils. The second tier of local government consists of town councils. The city of Kilkenny and four other towns that had borough corporation status before 2001 are allowed to use the title of "Borough Council" instead of "Town Council", but they have no additional responsibilities. Outside the towns, the county council is solely responsible for local services. In addition, Kilkenny was given the privilege of continuing to style itself a city, despite being governed by a borough council and not being a former county borough.

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