Organised jointly by the Irish-United State Alumni (IUSA) Association, BostonCollege’s Irish Institute and the Embassy of the United States of America, Dublin.  Held on Thursday, 23rd May, 2.30 to 6.00 pm in Boston CollegeIreland, 42 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.


Keynote speaker: Fergus O’Dowd T.D.

Minister of State, Department of the Environment

“Local Government and the NewERA Plan”

There is currently underway one of the most radical and important changes in the structure and role of local government in Ireland under the ‘Putting People First’ agenda.  Examples of the reforms are the merger of the City and County Enterprise Boards into local government, the alignment of the LEADER/Partnership company’s strategies and action to those of the local city and county council’s and the proposed rationalisation of the number of local authorities next year all are symptomatic of a radical reform of the role and scope of local government.

 The keynote was delivered by the Minister of State responsible for local government and New Era, Fergus O’Dowd T.D. who outlined the reasons behind the reforms which is aimed at making local government more democratic, accountable and transparent.  The Minister left his prepared speaking notes and gave an open appraisal of the situation and engaged in a nearly one-hour open question and answer session with the assembled audience.

 This was followed by a panel discussion with Michael Curran (Director of Services for Economic Development, Louth County Council), Steve Margolis (Planner, Dublin City Council), Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF Councillor Dublin North) and John Kearns (CEO Partas and Chairperson of South Dublin Enterprise Board).  The panel achieved a great deal of consensus on the need for reform of local government in order to make it more effective and accountable to society.  The effects of the changes being made and the potential downside of the reforms were discussed with the audience and an open debate ensued.

 The IUSA, BostonCollege and the US Embassy Dublin intend to host 2 more seminars later in the year.  The next seminar will be on US foreign policy and is scheduled for September 2013.

 For more information on the seminar see:

Ken Germaine (IUSA Board Member);

Thea Gilien, Boston College Dublin: