The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, has today published the Electoral, Local Government and Planning and Development Bill.
According to the Minister, “This Bill is primarily concerned with electoral law, including revised nomination procedures for elections to the European Parliament and provisions enabling the establishment of a committee to review European constituencies in certain circumstances”. “The Bill also provides for the amendment of electoral, local government and planning and development law to put in place transitional arrangements necessary to facilitate implementation of the Action Programme for Effective Local Government ‘Putting People First’ “.
The Bill provides for the following:
· The transposition of Council Directive 2013/1/EU which amends the nomination requirements in Directive 93/109/EC for EU citizens standing for election to the European Parliament in a Member State of which they are not nationals,
· The amendment of the Electoral Act 1992 to provide for the preparation and publication of one register of electors for the 2014/2015 period in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford, in which areas members of single new local authorities will be elected at the local elections in 2014,
· The amendment of the Electoral Act 1992 to provide for an improvement in the time allowed for the receipt of applications for inclusion in the supplement to the postal and specials voters’ lists on the electoral register in advance of presidential, European and local elections and referendums,
· The repeal of the requirement, in the Referendum Act 1994, for An Post to make copies of Referendum Bills available for inspection and purchase by members of the public, at post offices, in the run up to referendums,
· The amendment of the Electoral Act 1997 to provide for the establishment of a committee to report on European Parliament constituencies in the context of a change in the number of MEP’s to be elected in Ireland where a Constituency Commission has presented its report and another is not due to present a report before the date of the next European election,
· The amendment of the Electoral Act 1997 to address an omission in the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012 to provide for the application to political parties of the same information requirements in respect of the disclosure of donations that apply to elected representatives and election candidates.
· The amendment of the Planning and Development Act 2000 to provide, for those planning authorities that are proposed to be amalgamated or abolished under the local government reform programme, discretionary powers to extend the lifetime of the existing development plan and to cease any development plan reviews already commenced. It also provides for those planning authorities that are proposed to be amalgamated, a mandatory obligation to commence a development plan review within 1 year of the making of regional planning guidelines which affect the area of the development plan, and
· The amendment of the Local Government Act 2001 to provide for the appointment of a dual manager in Waterford County and Waterford City in the context of the decision to amalgamate the local authorities there with effect from the 2014 local elections, matching arrangements already provided for in Limerick and Tipperary.