IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

An Analysis of Local Public Finances and the 2014 Local Government Reforms


  • Gerard Turley

    (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)

  • Stephen McNena

    (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)


In this paper we set out to analyse changes in local government expenditures and income in the context of central government austerity measures, local government budgetary adjustments and, most especially, the 2014 local government reforms. More specifically we outline the effect of the local government reforms, and, in particular, the redesign of intergovernmental fiscal relations (namely, territorial rescaling, expenditure and revenue re-assignment, changes in central government transfers) on the local public finances. Using data from the Local Authority Budgets we examine changes to the main service divisions, income sources and cross-council variations in expenditures and income, pre and post the 2014 reforms. Our results show that local government fiscal changes and recovery lag central government patterns, a general shift from central grants to local own-source revenues, and cross-council differences with respect to dependency and selfreliance persist. The establishment of Irish Water and the Local Property Tax have, at least initially, made the local government fiscal accounts, and in particular the Local Government Fund, less transparent and more complex, making an objective and accurate assessment of local authority budgets more difficult than before the reforms. Earlier publication of the consolidated Annual Financial Statements of the local authorities is called for so as to ensure continued scrutiny of the local public finances.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerard Turley & Stephen McNena, 2016. "An Analysis of Local Public Finances and the 2014 Local Government Reforms," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(2), pages 299-326.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:2:p:299-326

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roy Bahl, 1999. "Implementation Rules For Fiscal Decentralization," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9803, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Jorge Martínez-Vázquez & Agnese Sacchi, 2018. "Fiscal stability during the great recesion: Putting decentralization design to the test," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1806, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.

    More about this item


    local government; public finance; Ireland;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:2:p:299-326. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Lawless). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.