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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001
Meetings and Proceedings of Local Authorities
Local authority meetings.
1.—(1) In every year a local authority shall hold—
(a) an annual meeting as provided for in paragraph 3,
(b) a local authority budget meeting as referred to in paragraph 5,
(c) such other meetings as are necessary for the transaction of its business, which meetings are in this Act referred to as ordinary meetings.
(2) In addition, a local authority may hold such special meetings as may be requisitioned by virtue of paragraph 6 or section 140 or as may be decided by resolution.
(3) This Schedule shall as regards a special meeting convened for the purposes of section 34 or 146 be read subject to and in accordance with the requirements of the relevant section.
Place, date and time of meetings.
2.—(1) A local authority shall provide or arrange for the provision of accommodation for the holding of meetings.
(2) In so far as practicable, the place for holding of meetings is the principal offices of the authority and meetings shall normally be held at such place.
(3) Subject to this Act, meetings shall be held on such days and at such times as the local authority shall by resolution appoint or shall fix by standing orders.
(4) In so far as practicable, a local authority shall fix a regular schedule for the holding of ordinary meetings, which may be set out in standing orders or appointed by resolution.
(5) Subject to this paragraph, different days, times and places (whether within or without the administrative area of the authority) may be appointed from time to time by resolution or fixed by standing orders for different meetings.
Day of annual meeting.
3.—(1) In every year in which a local election is held, the annual meeting of a local authority shall be held—
(a) if the local authority is a county council, on the fourteenth day, and
(b) in any other case, on the tenth day,
after the polling day or, where the poll is for any reason counter-manded, interrupted or adjourned, after the day on which the poll is completed or the fresh poll is held.
(2) Where the fourteenth day or tenth day referred to in subparagraph (1) is an excluded day, the meeting shall be held on the next following day which is not an excluded day.
(3) In every other year, the local authority shall hold an annual meeting on such day, in the month of May or June, as the local authority shall by resolution appoint or fix by standing orders.
(4) Whenever an annual meeting of a local authority is for any reason not held on the day appointed or fixed by or by virtue of this paragraph for the holding of such meeting, the meetings administrator shall, following consultation, if practicable, with the Cathaoirleach, or if the office of the Cathaoirleach is vacant or the Cathaoirleach is unable to act, with the Leas-Chathaoirleach, convene a meeting of the local authority for a convenient hour on the day which appears to such administrator to be the earliest convenient date for that purpose and a meeting so held shall be deemed for all purposes to be an annual meeting held on the day appointed under subparagraph (1), (2) or (3) as appropriate.
Business and public notice of annual meeting.
4.—(1) At an annual meeting in an election year the meetings administrator shall read out the names of the persons duly elected as members of the local authority and where relevant the name of the Cathaoirleach elected by direct election.
(2) Subject to subparagraph (1), the election of a Cathaoirleach in accordance with sections 36 and 37 is to be the first business at an annual meeting, except in a case where such Cathaoirleach has been elected by direct election in which case the election of the Leas-Chathaoirleach shall be the first business.
(3) Where the Cathaoirleach is elected in accordance with sections 36 and 37 the next business shall be the election of the Leas-Chathaoirleach.
(4) In the case of the annual meeting of a local authority in an election year the business to be transacted shall, subject to this paragraph, include the consideration of the election, appointment or nomination of members of joint bodies or other bodies elected, appointed or nominated by such local authority.
(5) Every member of a joint body who has been elected, appointed or nominated by a local authority and is in office as such member at the date of an election to such local authority shall continue to hold office as such member of such joint body until his or her successor is appointed unless he or she sooner dies, resigns, is disqualified, removed from office or otherwise ceases to be a member of the local authority or a member of the joint body, as the case may be, other than by way of reaching the ordinary day of retirement of members of a local authority.
(6) (a) In an election year a local authority shall publish a notice of its annual meeting in at least one newspaper circulating in its administrative area which—
(i) states the date of the annual meeting and where appropriate that the first business of the meeting will be the election of the Cathaoirleach, and
(ii) specifies the joint bodies and other bodies to which the local authority is entitled to make appointments at that meeting or subsequently.
(b) In this paragraph “appointments” includes—
(i) appointments of members of the local authority, whether by virtue of holding a particular office or by way of nomination, election or otherwise, and
(ii) appointments of persons who are not members of the local authority.
(7) (a) The notice under subparagraph (6)(a) of the annual meeting shall be in a form and published within a period, prescribed by the Minister by regulations.
(b) Regulations under this subparagraph may also provide for the publication by a local authority of a subsequent public notice within such period as may be specified, listing the appointments made by it to joint bodies or other bodies referred to in subparagraph (6)(a), or indicating that such a list may be inspected at the principal offices of the local authority.
(c) Failure by a local authority to publish a notice of the annual meeting as required by this paragraph or to publish it with any omission or error in it does not invalidate any meeting of the local authority or any appointment made or other thing done at the meeting.
Local authority budget meeting.
5.—A local authority shall hold its budget meeting in accordance with section 103 within the period prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for the purposes of that section.
6.—(1) A requisition to have a special meeting of a local authority convened (in this paragraph referred to as a “requisition”) may be made—
(a) by the Cathaoirleach,
(b) if the office of Cathaoirleach is vacant, or the Cathaoirleach is unable to act, by the Leas-Chathaoirleach, or
(c) by the Cathaoirleach on foot of a request presented to him or her by any 5 members.
(2) Where the Cathaoirleach refuses or neglects to act on foot of a request referred to in subparagraph (1)(c) within 7 days of it being presented to him or her, the members making the request may convene the meeting in accordance with this paragraph.
(3) A requisition shall be made in writing and be delivered by the Cathaoirleach, the Leas-Chathaoirleach or in a case where subparagraph (2) applies by the members making the requisition, as the case may be, to the meetings administrator.
(4) A requisition shall be signed by the person or persons making it, as the case may be, and shall—
(a) contain as an agenda a statement of the business which it is proposed to transact at the meeting, and
(b) specify a day, (other than an excluded day), which is not less than 3 clear days after the day on which it is received by the meetings administrator, for the holding of the meeting.
(5) On receipt of a requisition, the meetings administrator shall, unless it is a case to which subparagraph (6) applies, issue a notification under paragraph 7 and give public notice under paragraph 8 for the special meeting required by the requisition.
(a) a requisition under subparagraph (1)(c) specifies a day for the holding of a special meeting, and
(b) an ordinary meeting of the local authority is to be held on a day within the period of 10 days after the day on which the meetings administrator receives the requisition.
the business stated in the requisition shall be considered at that ordinary meeting and the special meeting shall not be convened.
Notification of meeting and agenda.
7.—(1) A notification to attend a meeting, other than a local authority budget meeting, shall—
(a) be sent or delivered to each member of the local authority concerned,
(b) specify the place, date and time of the meeting, and
(c) give not less than 3 clear days notice of the meeting.
(2) Paragraph 5 applies to a local authority budget meeting.
(4) (a) A notification shall include or be accompanied by an agenda listing the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting.
(b) An agenda which has been sent or delivered for the purposes of subparagraph (1) may be altered (whether by way of addition, deletion or otherwise) if an agenda paper specifying the alteration is delivered or sent to each member not less than 3 clear days before the day on which the meeting is to be held.
(5) In the case of a special meeting convened under paragraph 6, a copy of the requisition shall be sent with the notification.
(6) Subject to subparagraph (7), a notification shall have the signature of the meetings administrator and any document claiming to have that signature shall be deemed, until the contrary is proved, to have been duly issued or given with the authority of the local authority.
(7) Non-receipt of a notification by any member or lack of a signature or any other defect in the notification does not affect the validity of a meeting or of any act or thing done at the meeting.
(8) For the purposes of this paragraph “signature” includes a facsimile of a signature by whatever process reproduced or a printed version, whether original or facsimile, of the name of the meetings administrator and a printed version of that name, whether original or facsimile, shall be deemed to have been duly placed on the document by or with the consent of the meetings administrator until the contrary is proved.
(9) The meetings administrator shall, where practicable, advise the Cathaoirleach as regards the business of a meeting.
Public notice of meetings.
8.—(1) (a) Notice of the place, date, and time of a meeting other than a local authority budget meeting shall be displayed not less than 3 clear days before the day of the meeting in or at the principal offices of the local authority in a position convenient for public inspection during normal office hours.
(b) A notice referred to in clause (a) shall include the agenda for the meeting or shall specify a place where the agenda can be inspected and in the case of a meeting requisitioned under paragraph 6 or under section 140 the agenda shall include or be accompanied by a copy of the requisition.
(c) Paragraph 5 applies in the case of a local authority budget meeting.
(2) (a) On request, a local authority shall supply a copy of a public notice and agenda to any person seeking such copy.
(b) A local authority may make arrangements for the supply to the media of copies of a public notice and agenda referred to in clause (a).
(c) A local authority may charge such fee, if any, as it may fix for the supply of the copy of the public notice and agenda but no fee shall exceed the reasonable cost of providing the copy.
(3) By resolution or standing orders, a local authority may make such additional arrangements for the giving of public notice of meetings, including display of notice at additional locations, including but not limited to public libraries, or publication in a newspaper, electronically or otherwise, as it considers appropriate.
(4) Failure to display or to supply a copy of a notice by virtue of this paragraph does not affect the validity of a meeting or of any act or thing done at the meeting.
Business of meeting.
9.—Subject to paragraph 16, no business shall be transacted at a meeting other than that specified in the agenda which relates to the meeting or business required by this Act or otherwise by law to be transacted at the meeting.
Chairing of meetings.
10.—(1) If present at a meeting, the Cathaoirleach shall chair it.
(2) If and for so long as the Cathaoirleach is not present, or the office of Cathaoirleach is vacant, the Leas-Chathaoirleach shall chair the meeting if he or she is present but shall leave the chair on the arrival at the meeting of the Cathaoirleach or, in the case of a meeting to fill a casual vacancy in the office of Cathaoirleach in accordance with section 38 or 41(2), following the election of a Cathaoirleach at that meeting.
(3) In any other case, the meeting shall proceed to the election of one of the members present to chair the meeting and such member shall leave the chair on the arrival at the meeting of the Cathaoirleach or Leas-Chathaoirleach.
(4) It is the duty of a Cathaoirleach, Leas-Chathaoirleach or any other member who is required in accordance with this paragraph to chair a meeting to take the chair and to proceed with the business of the meeting.
(5) The procedure for the chairing of an annual meeting in an election year until the election of a Cathaoirleach at such meeting by virtue of section 36 shall be specified in standing orders and may include provision, subject to subparagraph (6), for the taking of the chair for this period by a member or by an employee of the local authority concerned.
(6) Any member selected to chair an annual meeting under subparagraph (5) shall not have a second or casting vote and the employee of the local authority, if so selected in accordance with that subparagraph, shall not have any vote.
11.—(1) The quorum for a meeting of a local authority is one-fourth of the total number of members of the local authority plus one or, where one-fourth of such total number is not a whole number, the quorum is the next highest whole number plus one.
(2) Whenever a meeting of a local authority is abandoned owing to failure to obtain a quorum, the names of those members present at the time and place appointed for such meeting shall be recorded by the meetings administrator and they shall for all purposes be deemed to have attended a duly constituted meeting.
Doing of acts and determination of questions.
12.—(1) Each member present at a meeting of a local authority shall have a vote unless prohibited from voting by this or any other enactment.
(2) All acts of a local authority which are reserved functions or questions duly coming or arising before a meeting of a local authority shall be determined—
(a) by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting, or
(b) where there is an equality of votes, by a second or casting vote of the person chairing the meeting (which person shall have and may choose to exercise such a vote).
(3) This paragraph is without prejudice to the other provisions of this Act (including provisions required to be included in standing orders by virtue of paragraph 16) or of any other enactment, requiring either the presence of a specified number or proportion of the members or that a specified number or proportion should vote in favour for the doing of any particular act.
(4) Nothing in this paragraph shall be read as prohibiting a local authority from setting out in standing orders the procedures and methods of voting including when a roll call vote is to be taken.
(a) in the opinion of the person chairing a meeting (in this paragraph referred to as the “chair”), any member has been or is disorderly by persistently disregarding the ruling of the chair, or by behaving irregularly, improperly or offensively, or by otherwise obstructing the business of the meeting, and
(b) the chair has conveyed his or her opinion to the members present by naming the member concerned,
then the chair or any member may move “that the member named leave the meeting” and the motion, if seconded, shall be put and determined without discussion.
(2) Where a local authority decides in accordance with subparagraph (1) that a member leave a meeting, that member shall immediately leave the meeting and shall not be entitled to speak or to take any further part in that meeting on that day.
(3) Where in the opinion of the chair—
(a) there is general disorder which impedes the orderly transaction of business, or
(b) where a member against whom it was resolved that he or she leave the meeting by virtue of this paragraph refuses to do so,
the chair may adjourn the meeting for such period as he or she considers necessary in the interests of order.
14.—(1) Minutes of the proceedings of a meeting of a local authority shall be drawn up by the meetings administrator.
(2) The minutes shall include—
(a) the date, time and place of the meeting,
(b) the names of the members present at the meeting,
(c) a list of the senior employees of the local authority present at the meeting,
(d) reference to any report submitted to the members at the meeting,
(e) where there is a roll call vote, the number and names of members voting for and against the motion and of those abstaining,
(f) particulars of all resolutions passed at the meeting, and
(g) such other matters considered appropriate.
(3) A copy of the minutes of a meeting shall be sent or given by the meetings administrator to each member of the local authority.
(4) Minutes of a meeting shall be submitted for confirmation as an accurate record at the next following ordinary meeting, where practicable, or where not, at the next following meeting and recorded in the minutes of that meeting.
(5) When confirmed, with or without amendment, the minutes of a meeting shall be signed by the person chairing the meeting they were submitted to for confirmation and any minutes claiming to be so signed shall be received in evidence without proof.
(6) Until the contrary is proved, every meeting in respect of the proceedings of which minutes have been confirmed shall be deemed to have been duly convened and held and all the members at the meeting shall be deemed to be duly qualified.
(7) A copy of the minutes of a meeting when confirmed in accordance with subparagraph (5) shall be open to inspection at the principal offices of the local authority and any person may inspect and make a copy of, or abstract from, the minutes during the usual office hours of the authority.
(8) A copy of the minutes shall be provided to any person applying for them on payment of such reasonable sum, if any, being a sum not exceeding the reasonable cost of supplying the copy, as may be fixed by the local authority.
(9) Each local authority shall make proper arrangements for the safe keeping of the minutes of the authority.
Record of attendance at meetings and address for correspondence.
15.—(1) Each local authority is responsible for the maintenance of a record of attendance at its meetings.
(2) The attendance of each member present at a meeting shall be entered by that member in a record kept for that purpose by the local authority.
(3) Where any provision of this Act provides for the delivery or sending of a document to a member such document shall be sent to the address supplied in writing by the member.
(4) Where any provision of this Act provides for the delivery or sending of a notice to the manager, meetings administrator or to the principal offices of a local authority such notice shall be sent or delivered to the address of such office of the local authority as shall be fixed for that purpose by the manager and such address shall be included in the standing orders of the local authority.
16.—(1) (a) A local authority shall, subject to this Act and by resolution for which at least one-half of the total number of members of the authority vote in favour, make standing orders for the regulation of its meetings and proceedings.
(b) A local authority may include in standing orders all such incidental, consequential or supplementary provisions as may appear to the local authority to be appropriate for that purpose.
(c) A local authority shall in making standing orders comply with section 19 (3)(c).
(2) A local authority may, by resolution for which at least one-half of the total number of members of the authority vote in favour, amend or revoke standing orders and make new standing orders.
(3) (a) A copy of standing orders shall be sent or delivered by the meetings administrator to each member on his or her coming into office, or as soon as practicable thereafter, and as soon as may be practicable after new standing orders have been made.
(b) A copy of any amendment to standing orders shall likewise be supplied to each member.
(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subparagraph (1), a local authority shall include in standing orders provisions for the following:
(a) a schedule of ordinary meetings;
(b) commencement, adjournment and termination of meetings;
(c) the chairing of an annual meeting in an election year where the Cathaoirleach falls to be elected in accordance with section 36 ;
(d) the revocation of resolutions subject to a requirement that such number of members as is specified in standing orders, which shall be at least one-half of the total number of members of the authority, vote in favour and subject to such other requirements as may be so specified;
(e) dealing with urgent business related to a function of the local authority, subject to a requirement that such number of members as is specified in standing orders, which shall be at least one-half of the total number of members of the authority, vote in favour and subject to such other requirements as may be so specified;
(f) the procedures to be followed for the doing of acts and the determination of questions, including the procedures and methods of voting and when a roll call vote is to be taken;
(g) the suspension of any provision of standing orders other than those to which clauses (d), (e) and (f) relate and subject to a requirement that at least two-thirds of the members present vote in favour and to such other requirements as may be specified in standing orders;
(h) the address for the purposes of paragraph 15(4).
(5) The Minister may issue general directions to local authorities in relation to standing orders and the provisions to be included in them.
(6) (a) Subject to this Act and to any other relevant enactment, standing orders of a local authority may include provisions to regulate the proceedings and business of committees established by the authority, as it may consider appropriate.
(b) Subject to clause (a), a committee may regulate its own business and proceedings by way of its own standing orders or otherwise.
17.—(1) Paragraphs 12, 13, 14 and 15, and paragraph 16 in so far as it is relevant, apply in relation to a committee of a local authority or a joint committee with any necessary modifications.
(2) The quorum for a meeting of a committee shall be such as may be fixed by the local authority which established it but in no case shall be less than 3.
Right to form groups for certain appointments.
18.—(1) Where 2 or more persons are to be appointed by a local authority to a body to which this paragraph applies, then—
(a) any group of members who are present at the meeting at the time when the business of making the appointments is reached and comprising the number of members necessary for the purposes of this paragraph may nominate a person to be a member of that body and the person shall be so appointed on that nomination without any vote being taken, and
(b) the members of the body then remaining to be appointed shall be appointed successively by the members of the local authority who are not members of any group referred to in clause (a) and who were present at the meeting at the time when the business of making the appointments was reached.
(2) (a) Subject to clause (b) the number of members necessary to form a group for the purposes of this paragraph shall be obtained by dividing the total number of members present at the meeting of the authority at the time when the business of making the relevant appointments is reached by the number of the appointments to be so made, or, where the number so obtained is not a whole number, the whole number next above the number so obtained.
(b) No member of a local authority shall be a member of more than one group for the purposes of this paragraph.
(3) This paragraph applies to the following bodies:
(a) a committee of a local authority;
(b) a joint committee or joint body of one or more local authorities;
(c) a vocational education committee within the meaning of the Vocational Education Act, 1930 ;
(d) a harbour authority within the meaning of the Harbours Act, 1946 ;
(e) a school attendance committee within the meaning of the School Attendance Act, 1926 ;
(f) a regional authority established by order under section 43 of the Local Government Act, 1991 ;
(g) a regional tourism organisation;
(h) the General Council of County Councils;
(i) the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland;
(j) a county enterprise board within the meaning of the Industrial Development Act, 1995 ;
(k) a LEADER group established in the framework of an EU community initiative for rural development;
(l) the Dublin Transportation Office Advisory Committee;
(m) an Area Partnership Board;
(n) such other body or bodies as may be specified by order of the Minister either generally or in respect of one or more specified local authorities.
(4) (a) This paragraph applies to the appointment of—
(i) members of a local authority, and
(ii) other persons who are not members (where such appointment is authorised by or under any enactment),
to a body referred to in subparagraph (3), whether by way of nomination or election.
(b) Clause (a) does not apply as regards the appointment of persons who are not members of a local authority to membership of a strategic policy committee, a municipal policy committee, a local consultative committee, a vocational education committee or a school attendance committee.
(5) This paragraph shall not be read so as to make unnecessary for appointment to any office, post or position, the possession of any special knowledge, experience or other qualification the possession of which is required by law for appointment to the office, post or position.
(6) This paragraph shall not be read so as to affect the entry to or tenure of membership of any body, or any other office, held by virtue of being an office holder.
(7) Section 5 of, and the relevant provisions of the Second Schedule to, the Health Act, 1970 , shall have effect in relation to appointments by a local authority to a health board.
Equity in appointments, etc
19.—(1) A local authority shall seek to promote the objective of an appropriate gender balance in the making of appointments by it to bodies to which paragraph 18 applies and to other bodies.
(2) The Minister may issue guidelines as regards the objective referred to in subparagraph (1), and a local authority shall comply with any such guidelines in the making of its appointments to the bodies concerned.
(3) A local authority may by resolution make rules for the purpose of ensuring that appointments made by it to bodies to which paragraph 18 applies and to other bodies are made fairly and equitably, taking account of the various interests represented on the authority and the totality of the appointments to be made to those bodies.
(4) Nothing in this paragraph shall be read as prohibiting the operation of paragraph 18 by any group of members except that any member who voted for a resolution under this paragraph shall not—
(a) form any part of a group by virtue of paragraph 18 in relation to a body to which rules referred to in subparagraph (3) apply, or
(b) vote in accordance with paragraph 18 in relation to an appointment to such body.