The Role of the Councillor

The public face of our local authorities are the democratically elected Councillors. Our Elected Members, like all public representatives, are community champions and have strong existing links within their local areas, existing experience of engaging with community organisations and volunteer

The elected council is, in law, the policy-making arm of the local authority with Councillors having the role of creating the overall policy framework within which the council’s executive and staff work.

Aligned with this, a significant role of Councillors is to represent the views of their communities. They identify and track local problems and issues and bring this knowledge back into the council chamber to ensure better outcomes for the well-being and quality of life for the people and communities that they represent.

The Councillor’s role and responsibilities include representing the electoral area for which they are elected and the local authority as a whole, decision-making, developing and reviewing council policy, regulatory and statutory duties. They also have a key role in community and engagement.

AILG Annual Conference Training 2020 Womens Conference Pic


The 2019 Local Elections resulted in the election of 949 City and County Councillors. Since that election took place on 24th May 2019;

There has been a total of 72 Co-options

60 of these Co-options were councillors who stood down in order to take up seats in Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann or the European Parliament

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6 of the Co-options were resignations

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2 Co-options were due to Councillors winning 2 seats in the May 2019 Elections

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4 Co-options were sadly due to death

Further stats can be found on Adrian Kavanagh’s website link here.

Dr. Adrian Kavanagh is a lecturer in the Maynooth University Department of Geography. His main research interests focus on the Geography of Elections.

Gender & Diversity

In total 17 additional female Councillors resulted from Co-options, bringing the total percentage of female Councillors to 25.4%, up from 23.8% in the 2019 Local Elections.

AILG believe that a more equal representation of women in politics is required, particularly within our rural constituencies. 

As part of our Annual Conference held on the 5th March 2020 in Longford, AILG hosted an inaugural Women’s Local Government Network meeting. The purpose of this session at our Annual Conference was to help and give guidance on the establishment of Women Caucuses or Network’s at local authority level in order to enable women to strengthen their impact and bring about equality between women and men in the membership and work of Local Authorities.

AILG gave a clear commitment to the delegates to help, assist and collaborate in the setting up of these caucuses. 

Gender Representation of 949 Elected Members
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