The New Local Government Arrangements in Northern Ireland - Renaissance or Missed Opportunity?

Prof. Paul Carmichael

Northern Ireland’s unstable political environment represented an unpromising backdrop against which efforts to reform the wider system of sub-regional governance in the Province. Eventually, in 2015, a reformed local government system was introduced following a lengthy review, legislative action, preparation and implementation. The operation of local government has received little attention in discussions of the governance of Northern Ireland. Based on a series of confidential interviews with a variety of key stakeholders, and a review of both academic literature, government publications/reports and recent developments, this paper assesses the changes in what was always a limited system of local government, evaluating the significance of local government reforms and the possibilities of a further enhancement of powers in the light of the absence of regional devolution.