A unified County Council will be established in Tipperary with effect from the 2014 local elections, replacing the existing North and South Tipperary County Councils. The new authority will serve a significantly increased population of 159,000 people (compared with North Tipperary County Council 70,219 and South Tipperary County Council 88,433).
North and South Tipperary were among the authorities for which the 2010 Local Government Efficiency Review Group report recommended joint management arrangements. A full merger would achieve greater savings both through the generation of scale economies and efficiencies and the removal of duplication, with integration of administrations and service delivery. The merger should enable commercial rates in North Tipperary, currently €60.13, to be reduced to the South Tipperary level of €56.77, which is estimated to cost in the region of €389,000.
However, the rationale for unification does not lie solely in finance or efficiency. It should also bring about stronger, more cohesive local government that is better positioned to promote the interests of the county and contribute to job creation and the recovery effort generally. “A unified local authority, following 173 years of separation, will serve an increased population, should have greater scale, strength, assets and capacity to help meet challenges arising and to promote the economic and social development of the county as a whole”, comments Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD.
The Tipperary decision follows the recent announcement of the merger of Limerick City and County Councils. Minister Hogan has also now announced details of an Implementation Group to oversee the practical work of local government reorganisation in Limerick. The group will be chaired by Denis Brosnan, who chaired the Limerick Local Government Committee that recommended merger of the two authorities in its report last year.