Putting People First: Action Programme for Effective Local Government (Government of Ireland, 2012) resulted in significant changes in local government. Many of the reforms set out in Putting People First were introduced with effect from 1 June 2014 under the Local Government Reform Act 2014. Amongst the reforms was the dissolution of 80 town councils, a reduction in the number of elected members from 1,627 to 949, and the establishment of 95 municipal districts. The number of municipal districts increased to 100 following the local elections in 2019.
Despite being in existence for several years now, little has been written about the operation and role of municipal districts. This study examines how municipal districts are operating in practice, looks at their strengths and limitations as an element of local government, and highlights opportunities and challenges for the operation of municipal districts in the future.