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Abstract

The evolution of the territorial structure of Ireland’s system of local government during the period of colonial rule by England is outlined. The independence period saw little change in this structure until the abolition of municipal-level government in 2014, reflecting the very marginal role of devolved administration in Ireland’s political system. The creation and functioning of regional-level administrative systems, mainly related to the management of EU Structural Fund expenditure, are reviewed. Regional assemblies, established in 2015, have the role of preparing regional strategies under the 2018 National Planning Framework. Ongoing problems arising from a mismatch between subnational governance systems and underlying socio-spatial structures are discussed.

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