Assessing the local-centre government policy relationship in Ireland.
PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
The policy relationship between local and national government has tended to be delineated into two frameworks. The first defines a relationship which is centralised at the national level. The second is one which identifies local government as autonomous. Current accepted thinking suggests that Ireland is a very centralised policy arena in which there is limited scope for initiative at local government level.
This thesis questions whether this is actually the case. In doing so the research incorporates a comprehensive literature and document review including internal policy papers at local and national level. More particularly, the research generated extensive material drawn directly from the policy interface between local and national government in Ireland. Thus the research draws upon a rich vein of source material, including access to senior personnel at local and national levels.
The research establishes that the policy relationship in Ireland can no longer be considered as centralised. Equally it establishes that the relationship cannot be characterised as autonomous. Rather, the thesis establishes that characterisation of the Irish local-centre policy interface is one which is most appropriately defined as disaggregated ambiguity. Based on this characterisation the thesis examines the possibility of the local-centre policy interface moving towards a model where co-governance would be the ideal. It acknowledges that such a model, whilst a key driver in the reform of policy inter-action elsewhere, might itself be a constraining force in Ireland. The flexibility that arises in Ireland through local innovation efforts could suffer if placed within
such a model. Therefore the research concludes with a model which is characterised by features of a co-governance model but which reflects the need for flexible policy development between the local and the national level.
||local-centre; government policy;
||Social Sciences > Geography
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