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Comparing the French system to Ireland, some differences stand out.

  1. The Irish system is more centralised with relatively few powers devolved to City and County Councils - Although Ireland is obviously much smaller than France, and Paris alone, would have a much greater population than Ireland.

  2. The 2014 Local government reform act reduced the number of local authorities from 114 to 31 through the abolition of all town councils (and the number of Councillors was reduced from 1,627 to 949) - mainly as a cost cutting measure.

  3. Ostensibly to reduce corruption, Councillors power to overturn planning decisions was removed.

  4. While election to a Council is often a stepping stone to the national parliament and ministerial office, national politicians do not take part in local elections, and the role of Mayors, where they exist, are largely ceremonial.

  5. Local administration is effectively managed by county "managers" and their staff who are unelected public servants who are, in theory, accountable to the elected councils.

  6. Political parties are also organised at local district (constituency) levels and elections are hotly contested.

The Irish systems s often criticised for being over centralised, but as noted above, some French cities (and  German Länder) are larger than all of Ireland. Many would argue than most back bench national parliamentarians are little more than glorified county councillors, focused on local issues to ensure re-election.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 10:35:56 PM EST

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