Regional and Local Devolution in Ireland – the Potential of LEADER Partnerships to Provide Municipal Government

  • Brendan O`Keeffe


Emerging economic and social challenges prompted EU and national authorities to initiate and support localised or area-based partnership approaches to development. Such approaches involve enabling representatives from the state sector, social partners, community and voluntary groups to form collaborative partnership structures with competences in integrated local development in a defined geographical area. In terms of local development in Ireland, the most significant partnership structures that have emerged are LEADER Local Action Groups and Local Development Partnerships. Extensive studies of partnership processes, outputs and limitations in Ireland and throughout the EU reveal a number of limitations in the current degree of synergy between partnership and mainstream approaches. Emerging development approaches to the provision of social welfare and public services increasingly involve new forms of public-voluntary and public-private partnerships.