The Irish Republic and the UK are states where the institutions and organization of local government are not constitutionally protected. Central government plays the most significant role in determining the form and structure of local government, whose powers are limited to those defined by central government statute. In the Republic, central government approaches to subnational government have been characterized by pragmatism. This is reflected most recently in the government policies of regionalization and decentralization as well as much longer established expediencies, such as the institution of the managerial system for local government and a range of responses to localized problems, evidenced in the massive growth of state-sponsored bodies and different organizations and agencies created by central government. Despite the proliferation of regional agencies, plus a little tinkering with the organization of local government, there has been no substantive reform of subnational government. Instead an ‘administrative jungle’ has grown and thrived as a result of central government’s relatively short-term approach to the organization of subnational government.
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