The Irish Regions Office: About Us



The Irish Regions Office (IRO) was established in 2000, with the support of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, as a Brussels based resource for the Irish members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and their regional authorities. The activities of the office have since been expanded through a collaboration of the Association of the Irish Regions (AIR) and local authority managers to provide a wider range of services to Irish local and regional authorities.

The establishment of the IRO is recognition of the growing impact of EU policies at the sub-national level. With almost three quarters of EU legislation now implemented at local or regional level, a priority of the IRO is to assist Irish sub-national authorities in influencing the development of this legislation before having to implement it. The IRO also helps to maintain sub-national government’s awareness of developments within the EU generally, highlighting issues of relevance, assisting participation in the policy making process and identifying relevant funding opportunities.

Located in the heart of Brussels’ EU district, the IRO is perfectly positioned to act as a link between the EU institutions and the local and regional levels and to give its sub-national partners a tangible presence at the centre of EU affairs.


IRO - Close to the Regions

The IRO works with and on behalf of the sub-national authorities in Ireland. The office maintains direct contact with the Directors of the Regional Authorities and Regional Assemblies and is routinely engaged in coordinating the production and promotion of policy and position papers on behalf of the AIR and the Irish Delegation to the CoR. It also assists local and regional authorities in developing EU projects (including accessing EU funds and finding trans-national partners) and responds to general requests for information on and from sub-national authorities in Ireland.

IRO - Close to the EU

The work of the IRO benefits from both formal and informal links with key policy and decision makers in the main institutions. Formal contact with the Institutions is facilitated through representation on the CoR and through membership of European Commission consultative forums. At an informal level, the IRO has a close working relationship with individual departments of the European Commission, as well as with MEPs, the Irish Permanent Representation, other Irish representations, regional representation offices and various other Brussels based organisations.

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The IRO operates on the basis of an annual work programme, which is agreed with the Association of Irish Regions. It works through the Association of Irish Regions and has direct links with the local and regional government structures in Ireland and agreed working arrangements with other relevant organisations.

The Association of Irish Regions

The Association of Irish Regions (AIR) is the national representative organisation of the eight Regional Authorities and two Regional Assemblies in Ireland. Its objectives are to express the collective view of its membership on matters concerning their constitution and the functions for which they have statutory responsibilities, and to offer advice to Government on matters pertaining to economic and social development, including matters relating to balanced regional development.

The Association also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and experience between its members, including arranging meetings, conferences, seminars, and producing publications which further the objective of improving the quality of service which members can give to their authorities and to the public. The AIR is composed of the Cathaoirligh (chairpersons) and Directors of the Regional Authorities and Regional Assemblies.

Association of Irish Regions logo

The Association of Irish Regions:
C/o Mr. Stephen Blair

(Honorary Secretary 2014)

Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly.

Assembly House,

O'Connell St.


Telephone: +353 (0)51 860700

The activities of the IRO are guided by a sub-committee of the AIR and the office liaises directly with two Regional Directors on (1) the day-to-day operation of the IRO and (2) the implementation of its annual work programme.

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As well as working directly with the Association of Irish Regions, Regional Authorities, Regional Assemblies and the local authorities the IRO has a number of other partners with which it co-operates in implementing its annual work programme and in undertaking its functions

In providing a briefing service to and supporting the members of the Irish Delegation to the Committee of the Regions, the IRO, in conjunction with the Dublin Regional Authority (which is responsible for the Delegation secretariat), liaises with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DoEHLG), the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Permanent Representation to the EU. The DoEHLG is the central government department with responsibility for local government and the Regional Authorities and is the lead government department with responsibility for the Irish Delegation to the CoR.

As part of its role in informing local and regional authorities on EU policy developments and project funding opportunities, the IRO has working agreements with the Institute of Public Administration, concerning the co-ordination of information products.


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