Local government in Ireland is responsible for public housing, water and sanitation, road maintenance, vocational education and other services. It is administered by 113 local authorities of which Galway Co.Council is one administering the area of Galway County. Local elections are normally held every 5 years but this period can be extended. The last local elections were held in 1991 and the next are scheduled for 1998. The county is divided into 5 electoral areas with a total of 30 members. Galway County council has a staff of approximately 174 management, administrative and clerical employees, 83 professional and technical staff and 720 general employees. The funding to cover the cost of providing the services, an extensive list of which appear below, are found from a combination of state grants, local taxes on non-residential property and European funding. The county is divided into a number of distinct regions including a number of inhabited islands.The principal off-shore islands are Inishbofin and the three Aran islands with a combined population of 1,700. The County council is similar to the Corporation in the type of services its involved in offering to the public. These include Housing and Building, Roads, Water Supply and Sewerage, Planning and Development, Environmental Protection, Recreation and Amenity, Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare and a range of Miscellaneous Services. The County Council encourages local communities to get involved with the council in developing badly needed services around the county. One example of how people are encouraged to get involved was the Local Environment Campaign initiated by Galway County Council in 1994. This campaign offers prizes in various competitions in an attempt to promote environmental action and awareness among local communities. As expected it attracted a large number of entries from residents associatons, schools and other voluntary organisations.
It has thirty county councillors elected from 5 electoral areas.
Ballinasloe - 5
Galway - 6
Tuam - 7
Connemara - 5
Loughrea - 7
While responsibility for performance of local authority functions is shared between the elected members and the manager the elected local authority members occupy the predominent position of authority and status in the local government system. Much of this is related to the fact that the members are directly elected and therefore have a mandate from the people and hold an important civic status in relation to the area which they represent.