History of the Council


How it all began

The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898 provided the legal framework for the introduction of the Local Government System as we know it. Local Authorities including the County Council for Laois were established to provide and regulate a range of public services.

The role and powers of Local Government have evolved and expanded over the years to cope with the changing needs of society. In the early decades following the establishment of the Local Government System, the core activities rotated around sanitary, public health and roads functions. In order to cope with the demands of the developing society the activities were expanded in particular from the 1960’s onwards.

Great investment and regulation were concentrated on the provision of housing, water supplies, sewerage treatment, etc. while simultaneously Local Government was also vested with responsibility for planning and development of the physical environment. The health function was transferred in 1970 with the establishment of the Regional Health Boards.

The role of Local Government in the provision of recreational amenities, e.g. libraries, sports facilities, parks, etc. has also been very important and is becoming increasingly so in the context of current social demands.