Local authorities have broad power to make bye-laws in relation to their functions.  They may regular matters in the interest of the community, provided it does not conflict with existing laws.

As well as the general power to make bye-laws specific c legislation grants local authority powers in relation to byelaws, for example, in the areas of road traffic and casual trading amongst many others.

Local authorities may make byelaws in relation to the use, operation, protection, regulation and management of any land, services or other thing provided by or under their control or in relation to matters connected with that.

A local authority may where it is of the opinion that it is desirable in the interests of the common good of the local community that an activity or matter should be regulated or controlled or that any nuisance should be controlled or suppressed, make a byelaw for that purpose.  A byelaw may not be made for a purpose in respect of which there is provision under any enactment in force.

The power to make byelaws in relation to under Local Governments Sanitary Service Act is to be interpreted as a power to make byelaws under general byelaw provisions.


A local authority may make a bye-law where in its opinion is desirable in the interest of common good that any activity should be regulated or controlled by bye-law or that a nuisance shall be suppressed.  A bye-law must not contradict other legislation.

Bye-laws may contain provisions considered appropriate for their effective application, operation and enforcement and generally for the purpose they were intended to.  They may prescribe standards or requirements in relation to activities, matters or things.  They  may prohibit activities, matters or things.

They  now may allow exceptions unconditionally or subject to conditions.  They  may regulate the conduct of persons at specified places or in specified circumstances.  They may provide for the issue of licenses or other authorisations.  They  may provide for payments of fees or charges of specified time as by persons in relation to matter governed by a bye-law.  They may specify a fine.

Local authorities have powers to amend their bye-laws.  They may be revoked from such date as may be appointed.

Ministers may make regulations as to matters on which the local authority may not make a by-law.



Byelaw provisions includes such provision as the local authority considers appropriate for its effective operation, application and enforcements to achieve the purposes for which it is  made including

  • its application at all times on or at specified times,
  • its application throughout the functional areas or in a specified part of it;
  • the prohibition of any activity, matter or thing;
  • the prescription of specified standards or requirements;
  • exceptions of classes or persons or things from the byelaw either subject to or without being subject to conditions;
  • the conduct of persons at specified places or in specified circumstances;
  • the issuing of licences and authorisations subject to conditions;
  • the payment of fees;
  • the specification of a fine not less than [€1904] for a contravention.

A local authority has power to amend byelaws.  It may revoke byelaws by resolution.

The approval of a draft byelaw and the consideration of submissions in relation to a draft byelaw, its amendment and revocation are reserved functions.

Local authorities may make byelaws in respect of the foreshore and coastal waters adjoining their functional area and with the agreement of other local authorities, of the coastal waters adjoining the functional areas of that other local authority.

The Minister may by regulation prescribe matters or classes of matters in respect of which a local authority shall not be entitled to make byelaws.

Where for reasons given, the appropriate Minister considers the byelaw is objectionable and so notifies the local authority in writing, then if the local authority does not amend or revoke it, the Minister may by order do so from the relevant day.

Procedure for making byelaws

Not less than two months before the making of a byelaw, the local authority shall publish a notice in the newspaper circulating in the area to which the proposal relates

  • indicating that it is proposed to make a byelaw,
  • stating its general purpose,
  • indicating times and places where the draft byelaws are available for inspection
  • stating that a copy will be given to persons on payment of such sum as may be requested.
  • stating the local authority will consider submissions in relation to the draft byelaw received before a certain day.

The local authority shall during the relevant period, being not less than one month, keep a copy of the draft byelaw open for inspection free of charge. It shall consider submissions made which are not returned.

A byelaw made by a local authority shall come into force on the date specified, being not less than 30 days after its making.  Other byelaws which must be submitted to the Minister come into effect on approval by the Minister.

The Minister may by regulations designate any matter or class  of matters in relation to which a byelaw shall require his approval. In such cases, the byelaw does not come into force until so approved.


Copies of draft by-laws are to be kept open for inspection during ordinary office hours at a place specified in the notice.  Copies of the draft bye-laws may be purchased by members of the public on payment of a fee.

The local authority is to consider submissions made and not withdrawn in relation to a draft bye-law.  It may make the by-law nonetheless or modify it.  Certain bye-laws require the consent of the Department.Certain classes of bye-laws must be approved by the Minister.  The Minister may make regulations specifying the classes which require his approval.

Notice of the making of a bye-law or approval and the place where copies may be purchased and inspected as published in Iris Oifigiul and in newspapers  circulating in the area.  The statement must set out the general purpose for which the bye-law was made the  commencement date, a copy of where it may be inspected and certain other statements.

Bye-laws must be kept open for inspection during ordinary office hours at the principal office of the local authority.  A copy may be obtained by any person on paying the fees.  Non-compliance does not invalidate the bye-law.


Notice of the making of  a byelaw shall as soon as may be after it is made or approved,  be published in Iris Oifigiúil, giving notice of its making or approval and the place where copies may be purchased and inspected.. The notice shall be published in one or more newspaper circulating in the area to which relates.

The notice shall give

  • a statement of the general purposes for which the byelaw is made,
  • the date on which it comes into force,
  • a statement that it is available free of charge for inspection and
  • a statement that a copy may be purchased for a specified fee.

The failure to publish the above notice does not invalidate the byelaw.

Where the byelaw relates to the use, regulation and management of land provided by a local authority, it shall endeavour to keep a notice that the byelaw applies displayed at or near such land.  Failure to do so does not invalidate the byelaw. It is not a defence to a prosecution.

A local authority shall maintain a register of byelaws made by it under the legislation.  It shall be available for inspection at the principal offices of the local authority during normal working hours.  It shall include the date of coming into effect of the byelaw.  Every existing byelaw  continuous for a period of three years from the date of repeal of any legislation under which it is made, unless earlier revoked.  A local authority may revoke a byelaw under other legislation under the substituted procedure above.

The Minister may by regulation in relation to any legislation which confers byelaw making authority apply, some or all of the provisions of the 1994/2001 Act and such byelaw shall be subject to such provisions. The relevant underlying legislation shall be interpreted accordingly.

A local authority auditor shall examine the systems, procedures and practices employed by a local authority for the purpose of establishing the effectiveness of its operations.


Bye-laws must be sufficiently certain, reasonable and consistent with general law and not discriminate.  They must be within the competence of the local authority.

Not less than two months before a local authority makes a bye-law, it shall publish notice in one or more newspapers setting out the proposal and its general purpose.  It must specify times and periods during which the bye-law is available for public inspection.  The period must be at least a month.

It is to  confirm that a copy of the draft bye-law is to be given to persons applying for it on payment of a sum.  Local authorities consider submissions in relation to the bye-law not less than seven days at the end of the inspection period.



Provision may be made for continuing fines for breach of byelaw up to [€126.97] per day.  An authorised person may request a person who appears to be contravening or have contravened a byelaw relating to land, a service or other thing, request the person to leave the land and refrain from any activity. He may remove the person who fails to comply with such request.

A person who obstructs,  impedes or refuses to comply with a request of an authorised person under this power is guilty of an offence.  Where an authorised person is of the opinion that the person is committing or has committed an offence, he may demand the name and address of such person.  The giving of a false name or misleading name or address is an offence.  A person convicted is liable on summary conviction of a fine up to €1,904.

Where a member from Garda Síochána is of the opinion that the person has committed an offence under this provision,  he may arrest the person without warrant.A person shall not be bound to comply with the  request of an authorised officer unless the officer produces evidence of appointment.

When an offence is committed by a body corporate with the consent, connivance or is attributable to the neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary of other officer, that officer may be convicted and punished in the same manner as the company.

An offence under byelaws may be prosecuted by the local authority concerned, by another local authority acting on its behalf or by a member from Garda Síochána.  All fines in respect of offences are payable to local authority.

It is the duty of the local authority whenever required by the District Court to produce to the court a true copy of the byelaw and verify the copy to such court by having endorsed thereon a certificate signed by an officer of local authority whose official position, it shall not be necessary to prove.  The court shall receive the copy in evidence which shall until the contrary be shown, be sufficient evidence of the byelaw.

There is provision for fixed payment notices for breach of byelaws.  They may be specified by the byelaw itself.  The notice must provide for a fixed payment, which may be made in order to avoid prosecution.  The notice shall specify certain details, including the nature of the alleged contravention, the date and place, amount of payment and that the alleged offender may pay or disregard the same and defend a prosecution.

Local authorities may maintain registers of byelaws which have to be available for inspection.

When ever required by a court, it is the duty of a local authority to produce a true copy of the bye-law and verify the copy to the court by having endorsing a copy certificate signed by an employee.  Where this occurs, the bye-law is admissible.

Authorised persons may request any person who is contravening an order or has contravened it  to leave land concerned or refrain from activity or remove any person failing to comply with such request.  Where a person obstructs impedes or refuses to comply with the requests, he is guilty of an offence.

When an authorised person is of the opinion that a person is committing or has committed an offence above, he may demand the name and address of such person.  It is an offence to give a false name or address.  A member from Garda Siochana may arrest a person who has or is committing an offence under the above provision without warrant.

A person who contravenes provision of a bye-law is guilty of an offence liable on summary conviction to a fine up to £1,500.  Where a contravention continues after conviction, the person causing the contravention is guilty of an offence on each day on which the contravention continues.  Each is liability on summary conviction for a fine of up to £100.

There is a fixed penalty notice in respect of breach of a by-law as an alternative to prosecution.

2014 Act

The local authority’s general power to make bye-laws is confirmed.  It may make bye-laws concerning its own property or services.  It may regulate matters of local concern.  This is additional to other specific bye-law making power in other legislation.  There was a general power to make bye-laws for the regulation of facilities and services provided or  managed or to regulate in the interests of common good, matters of local concern or nuisances.

Legislation sets out various type of matters which may be set out in bye-laws.  Bye-laws may not be made under the general power where there is specific authority otherwise available.  The Minister has power to amend and revoke bye-laws in certain cases.  The making of bye-laws is reserved to the elected members.

The procedure for making of bye-laws is provided.  A public notice must be given.  There is an obligation to make a copy of the draft bye-laws available and to consider submissions made.  The appropriate Minister may provide by regulations that bye-laws in relation to certain matters specified shall require ministerial approval.

Notice of the making of bye-laws must be published.  There are requirements that they be available for public inspection.  There must be provision of copies of bye-laws and maintenance for public inspection of a register of bye-laws by a local authority.

It is an offence to obstruct an authorised officer of a local authority or a member of An Garda Síochána in the exercise of their powers as regards contravention of bye-laws.

It is an offence to contravene a bye-law with penalty on summary conviction up to £1500.  Bye-laws may include provisions for on the spot penalty.  Offences under bye-laws may be prosecuted by the local authority or members from An Garda Síochána.  The fines are paid to the relevant local authority.

Bye-law procedures may be applied by regulations or other enactments which confer powers on local authorities to make bye-law.



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