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The Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act 1972 (1972 c.9) was an act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland that constituted district councils to administer the twenty-six local government districts created by the Local Government Act 1971, and abolished the existing local authorities in Northern Irelandmarker.

District councils

Each Local Government District was to have a district council consisting of elected councillors of whom one would be chairman and another could be vice-chairman.

Provision for the continuation of city and borough status was included in the Act, which provided that charter of each county borough should apply to the new district containing it, and that the council for a district which includes the whole or the major part of a borough other than a county borough may... resolve that the charter of the corporation of the borough shall have effect in relation to the district. In addition a district council could apply for a new charter making it a borough. In the original Act, the council could petition the Governor of Northern Ireland for a royal charter. By the time the Act came into effect, however, the office of governor had been abolished, and petitions were addressed to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Where a district was designated a city or borough, the chairman and vice-chairman became the mayor and deputy-mayor. In the case of Belfastmarker, the chairman's title continued to be lord mayor.

District Status
Antrim District council. Granted borough status May 10 1977
Ards Borough council (under 1927 charter of Newtownardsmarker)
Armagh District council. City status granted 1994.
Ballymena Borough council (under 1937 charter)
Ballymoney District council. Granted borough status 1977
Banbridge District council
Belfast City council under charter of 1619 and letters patent of 1888
Carrickfergus Borough council (under 1939 charter)
Castlereagh District council. Granted borough status 1977
Coleraine Borough council (under 1928 charter)
Cookstown District council
Craigavon Borough council (under 1949 charter of Lurganmarker)
Down District council
Dungannon -
renamed Dungannon and South Tyrone November 25, 1999
District council. Granted borough status 1999.
Fermanagh District council
Larne Borough council (under 1938 charter)
Limavady District council. Granted borough status March 1, 1989.
Lisburn Borough council (under 1964 charter). Granted city status 2002.
Londonderry -
renamed Derry 1984
City council (under 1613 charter)
Magherafelt District council
Moyle District council
Newry and Mourne District council
Newtownabbey District council. Granted borough status 1977
North Down Borough council (under 1927 charter of Bangor)
Omagh District council
Strabane District council

Abolition of existing local authorities

Section 131 of the Act stated that every county and every county borough shall cease to be an administrative area for local government purposes, and that every borough (other than a county borough), every urban district and every rural district shall be abolished.

Also abolished were any joint boards established under the Public Health Act 1878 or Water Supplies and Sewerage Act 1945 and the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners.

Exempted from abolition were the corporations of the county boroughs of Belfastmarker and Londonderrymarker, and of any municipal borough whose charter had been adopted by the new district council. In these cases the district council was to become the corporation from October 1, 1973.

The Act also provided for the dissolution of new town commissions established under the New Towns Acts 1965 to 1968.

Staff commission

Section 40 of the Act established the Staff Commission of Northern Ireland to oversee the recruitment, training and terms and conditions of employment of council officers, and those of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The commission was to:
  • Establish advisory appointment panels to advise councils on the suitability of applicants for appointment as officers
  • Draw up a code of conduct to ensure fair and equal consideration of all applications for employment
  • Monitor fair employment priocedures in councils
  • Assess future requirements of councils for officers, and publicise the opputunities for such employment to the public.
  • Promote cooperation between councils
  • Assist development of training for local government officers
  • Assist with the negotiation of procedures for standard rates of remuneration, or other terms and conditions of employment

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