THE power to make many decisions about local areas should be taken away from central government, a conference has heard, writes Dara deFaoite.
A conference on the future of regional governance heard that Ireland's towns and cities need to be governed regionally if they are to develop at a meaningful and sustainable level.
It was also suggested that county Dublin and parts of adjoining counties should form a new, pilot regional authority to assess the potential for devolved governance.
"Ireland is traditionally a very centralised country with essential services being maintained locally," said John McAleer director of the South West Regional Authority.
"But when it comes to certain needs such as waste management, economic development and water and sanitary services they are not always best served by individual local county councils," he said.
"Ireland should examine the benefits of granting more powers to regional bodies and perhaps consider having direct elections to these regional bodies," said Mr McAleer.
Mr McAleer was speaking at the eighth annual Conference of the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly, comprising councillors from 20 local authorities.