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Cllr Francis Timmons – Independent Voice

value of a European Affairs SPC


Monday, November 14, 2016


QUESTION: Councillor F. Timmons

To ask for a report on what the potential value of a European Affairs SPC in SDCC business would or could be ?


There are three relevant structures related to the question – the current SPC Scheme, the role of the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly, and Ireland’s local authority representation on the Committee of the Regions.

Strategic Policy Committee’s:

The Scheme for the establishment of the Strategic Policy Committees sets out the structure of the SPC’s and was adopted by Council in 2014 following a period of consultation with the elected members, the PPN and other representative bodies and the general public. The role of the SPCs is to assist the council in to develop and review policies related to council services through the engagement of both elected members and people actively working with social, economic, cultural and environmental bodies.  The SPC Scheme was devised in accordance with the Corporate Plan 2015 – 2019 and is for the lifetime of the Council. Accordingly, SDCC has six SPC’s:

  • Economic Development, Enterprise & Tourism
  • Land use Transportation and Planning
  • Social and Community
  • Environment, Public Realm & Climate Change
  • Housing
  • Arts, Culture, Gaeilge, Heritage and Libraries

The SPCs can and should consider European matters as they relate to their area.

Regional Assembly:

The Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly comprises of 36 elected Members nominated by the 12 constituent local authorities within the region, including SDCC. The main roles of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly are to:

  • Implement the appropriate Regional Planning Guidelines operational within its geographical area.
  • Prepare, adopt and implement the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies.
  • Ensure consistency with RPG/RESES in relation to the Local Economic and Community Plans of the 12 constituent Local Authorities.
  • Participate on EU operational programme monitoring committees.
  • Identify, participate and co-ordinate certain EU projects.
  • Support the national delegation to the Committee of the regions.
  • Support the work of the National Oversight and Audit Commission.

The Regional Assemblies also have two staff members based in their Irish Regions Office in Brussels to ensure a very active link between European structures and both the regional assembly and local authorities in the eastern region.  Further information on the Regional Assembly is available at http://emra.ie/

Committee of the Regions:

The Committee of the Regions represents local and regional government in the EU policy formation and decision-making processes. The Committee is an advisory body established in 1994 to ensure that the public authorities closest to the citizen, in Ireland, the local and regional authorities, are consulted on European Union policies of direct interest to them. Ireland is represented by a nine member delegation of elected representatives from the local authorities nationally. It has 350 regional and locally elected members and advises the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers on areas such as Employment, Environment, Transport and many others.


In summary, the participation of local government in European affairs is very important to ensure the development of all regions and the European Union in a cohesive and democratic manner, and is provided for through the structures set out above. The creation of a European Affairs SPC in South Dublin County Council was not provided for in the current SPC Scheme.