Understanding local elections: part 2
Posted on May 31, 2019
The History of local elections:
Grand juries and poor law unions were some of the oldest local government bodies in Ireland along with, these acted with financial and administrative functions. In the early 19th century of number of emerging movements looked to new approaches to local government in Britain. Utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, was concerned with central powers and argued for those with local knowledge deal with local problems.
It was considered that the ‘local government’ in Britain and Ireland was seen as corrupt, inefficient and controlled by a small number of land owners. From the 1880’s the issue of local government reform was a complicated political issue from constitutional reform, land ownership and nationalism which introduced measures in 1898.
The Local Government Act 1898 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland. This established a system of local government in Ireland. This act effectively ended landlord control of local government in Ireland. The Local Government Act instituted a system of six county boroughs, which consisted of Dublin, Belfast, cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Derry. These local governments consisted of county councils and County Borough Corporation which took over the administrative responsibly and functions from grand juries and the poor law unions.
One of the early policies of the Sinn Fein party was the important role that a local government would play in the passive resistance to the British government. They saw local governance as a useful vehicle for advancing the case for self-governance.
The early years of the 20th century saw increasing antagonism between national-controlled councils and the Local Government Board based in the custom House in Dublin, which dispensed British grant assistance to local authorities. Most local councils by 1920 allegiances lay with the underground first Dáil. With the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty in 1921, came the establishment of an Irish free state.