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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 1991
Functions of Local Authorities
Representational functions of local authorities.
5. —(1) A local authority may represent the interests of the local community in such manner as it thinks appropriate.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), a local authority may for the purposes of giving effect to that subsection—
(a) ascertain and communicate to other local authorities and public authorities the views of the local community in relation to matters as respects which those other authorities perform functions and which affect the interests of the functional area of the authority and the local community,
(b) facilitate and promote interest and involvement in local government affairs,
(c) promote, organise or assist the carrying out of research, surveys or studies with respect to the local community.
(3) The making of a decision by a local authority in relation to the representation of the views of the local community under this section shall be a reserved function.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on a local authority, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability enforceable by proceedings before any court to which it would not otherwise be subject.
General competence of local authorities.
6.—(1) (a) A local authority may, subject to the provisions of this section, take such measures, engage in such activities or do such things in accordance with law (including the incurring of expenditure) as it considers necessary or desirable to promote the interests of the local community.
(b) For the purposes of this section a measure, activity or thing shall be deemed to promote the interests of the local community if it promotes, directly or indirectly, the social, economic, environmental, recreational, cultural, community or general development of the functional area (or any part thereof) of the local authority concerned or of the local community (or any group consisting of members thereof).
(2) For the purposes of giving effect to subsection (1) and without prejudice to the generality of that subsection, a local authority may—
(a) (i) carry out and maintain works of any kind,
(ii) provide, maintain, preserve or restore land, structures of any kind or facilities,
(iii) fit out, furnish or equip any building, structure or facility for particular purposes,
(iv) provide utilities, equipment or materials for particular purposes,
(v) provide any service or other thing or engage in any activity that, in the opinion of the authority, is likely to benefit the local community;
(b) provide assistance in money or in kind, upon and subject to such terms and conditions as the authority considers appropriate, to persons engaging in any activity that, in the opinion of the authority, benefits the local community;
(c) provide assistance in money or in kind, (including the provision of prizes and other incentives), upon and subject to such terms and conditions as the authority considers appropriate in respect of the organisation or promotion of, competitions, seminars, exhibitions, displays, festivals or other events, or organise or promote such events;
(d) enter into such contracts and other arrangements as the authority considers necessary or expedient.
(3) In this section—
“land” includes land covered by water;
“assistance in money or in kind” includes—
(a) grants, loans, guarantees or other financial aid,
(b) land and structures of any kind and services, facilities or equipment related thereto,
(c) plant, machinery or equipment or the carrying out of works,
(d) the services of staff of the local authority concerned,
(e) financial aid in relation to the employment of staff, and
(f) professional or technical assistance.
(4) A decision by a local authority under this section (other than the provision of services of staff of the local authority) shall be a reserved function.
(5) A local authority shall not, by virtue of this section, perform any function (including the incurring of expenditure or any liability, whether contractual or otherwise) which is conferred on the authority by any other provision of this or of any other enactment.
(6) A local authority shall not, by virtue of this section, undertake or provide assistance for the undertaking of any activity that would prejudice or duplicate activity arising from the performance of a statutory function by any person in the functional area of the authority or that would, having regard to the activities or proposed activities of that person in relation to the area, involve wasteful or unnecessary expenditure by the local authority.
(7) (a) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, prescribe matters in respect of which a local authority shall not exercise the powers conferred by this section or in respect of which such exercise shall be subject to prescribed terms or conditions.
(b) Expenditure (including the incurring of any liability, whether contractual or otherwise) by a local authority in respect of the performance of its functions under this section (whether in respect of a particular activity or otherwise or in respect of a particular period or otherwise) shall not exceed such amount as may be prescribed.
(8) Particulars of the performance by a local authority of its functions under this section in any financial year shall be recorded in the report of the authority for that year.
Local authorities to have regard to certain matters in performing functions.
7. —(1) Subject to subsection (2), a local authority, in performing the functions conferred on it by or under this or any other enactment, shall have regard to—
(a) the resources, wherever originating, that are available or likely to be available to it for the purpose of such performance and the need to secure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of such resources,
(b) the need to maintain adequately those services provided by it which it considers to be essential and, in so far as practicable, to ensure that a reasonable balance is achieved, taking account of all relevant factors, between its functional programmes,
(c) the need for co-operation with, and the co-ordination of its activities with those of, other local authorities and public authorities the performance of whose functions affect or may affect the performance of those of the authority so as to ensure efficiency and economy in the performance of its functions,
(d) the need for consultation with other local authorities and public authorities in appropriate cases,
(e) policies and objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government in so far as they may affect or relate to its functions.
(2) A local authority shall perform those functions which it is required by law to perform and this section shall not be construed as affecting any such requirement.
(3) Every enactment relating to a function of a local authority shall be construed and have effect subject to the provisions of this section.
Ancillary functions of local authorities and other provisions with respect to their functions.
8. —(1) A local authority may do anything which is ancillary, supplementary or incidental to or consequential on or necessary to give full effect to, or which will facilitate or is conducive to the performance of, a function conferred on it by this or any other enactment or which can advantageously be performed by the authority in conjunction with performance of such a function.
(2) A local authority shall not by virtue of this Part perform any function—
(a) which it is prohibited from enjoying or performing by this or any other enactment, or
(b) without being subject to or complying with any conditions or restrictions to which, by virtue of this or any other enactment, the performance of the function is subject.
(3) Save as may otherwise be prescribed, the functions of a local authority under sections 5 and 6 may be performed by a council of a county in respect of its administrative county or by another local authority in respect of its functional area.
(4) (a) Where a grant is allocated by the Minister to a local authority in respect of a functional programme of the authority, the members of the authority shall, subject to any conditions that are attached to the grant by the Minister, by resolution determine the allocation of the grant among or as between projects or services within the programme.
(b) In this subsection—
“grant” does not include a grant in respect of a specific project or service of a local authority;
“conditions” means conditions in relation to matters referred to in section 7 (1) (e).
Transfer of certain functions to local authorities.
9. —(1) (a) The Government may by provisional order transfer a function of a Minister of the Government (other than a function that is required by the Constitution to be performed by a Minister of the Government) that, in the opinion of the Government, could be performed effectively by local authorities of a specified class or classes and is a function relating to the provision of a public service in the functional areas of local authorities of that class or those classes to local authorities of that class or those classes.
(b) The Government may by provisional order amend or revoke a provisional order under this subsection (including a provisional order under this paragraph).
(c) If a provision of a provisional order under this subsection that transfers a function is revoked, the function shall thereupon become and be vested in the Minister of the Government from whom it was transferred by the order.
(d) A provisional order under this subsection shall not have effect unless or until it is confirmed by an Act of the Oireachtas.
(2) (a) The Minister may by order transfer a function of local authorities of a specified class or classes that, in the opinion of the Minister, could be performed more effectively by local authorities of another specified class or classes to local authorities of that other class or those other classes.
(b) The Minister may by order amend or revoke an order under this subsection (including an order under this paragraph).
(c) Where an order under this subsection would relate to a function as respects the performance of which a function stands conferred on a Minister of the Government other than the Minister, the order shall not be made without the prior consent of that Minister of the Government.
(d) If a provision of an order under this subsection that transfers a function is revoked, the function shall thereupon become and be vested in the local authorities from which it was transferred by the order.
(3) (a) An order under this section may contain such ancillary, subsidiary and incidental provisions as the Government or the Minister, as may be appropriate, may determine.
(b) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a), an order under this section may—
(i) specify terms, conditions and restrictions upon and subject to which a function transferred by the order (in this paragraph referred to as “a function concerned”) is to be performed by the local authorities to which the function is transferred (in this paragraph referred to as “the local authorities concerned”),
(ii) provide that a function concerned shall be performed by the local authorities concerned in specified parts only of their functional areas,
(iii) provide for the transfer of assets and liabilities associated with a function concerned from the person or persons concerned to the local authorities concerned,
(iv) provide for the use by the local authorities concerned of the services of staff of the person or persons concerned,
(v) provide for such financial arrangements and adjustments between the person or persons concerned and the local authorities concerned as are considered proper by the Government or the Minister, as may be appropriate,
(vi) provide for any necessary application, adaptation or modification of an enactment,
(vii) provide for such other matters as are considered by the Government or the Minister, as may be appropriate, to be necessary to enable the transfer of a function to which the order relates to have full effect and to enable the function to be performed by the local authorities concerned.