Cork County Council Minute Books

Repository: Cork City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleCork County Council Minute Books
Archive ReferenceIE CCCA/CC/CO/M
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1899-1993
Extent Medium59 volumes


Creator(s): Cork County Council

  • Administrative History ↴

    Cork County Council came into being in 1899 with the coming into effect of the Local Government Act, 1898. Prior to this, local government functions had been carried out by bodies such as the Grand Juries, which oversaw expenditure on roads, bridges, and public buildings, and the Boards of Guardians, which since 1838 had administered relief of the poor through the workhouse system. These bodies were not abolished until 1925, but the Council had gradually assumed most of their powers. That year also saw the abolition of Rural District Councils, created under the 1898 Act, but now absorbed by the Council and by regional Boards of Health and Public Assistance. The 1934 Dividing Order created three Cork Health Districts, North, West, and South, which effectively became the Council’s administrative regions. In 1942 the County Management Act, 1940, came into effect, creating the post of County Manager with executive powers relating to administration, while the elected Council continued to make decisions on policy and key areas known as reserved functions. Health Acts in 1950 and 1960 led to the creation of the Southern Health Board (later Health Service Executive South), ending the Council’s function as a health authority. The Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963, greatly expanded the Council’s planning powers, leading over time to the adoption of five-yearly County Development Plans. Legislation and reform initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s were largely consolidated in the Local Government Act, 2001. The functions of the Council have changed and evolved over time, but main areas of responsibility have tended to include Roads, Social Housing, Water and Sanitation, Public Health, Higher Education Grants, Planning and Development, the Environment, and Estimates and Rates. Other functions and sub-functions over the years have included the following: Re-assignment or compensation of former Grand Jury officers, appointment of rate collectors, fixing ‘sudden breaches’ (e.g. storm damage), approval of RDC, UDC, and Proposals Committee payments, ordering of elections for rural district vacancies, maintaining courthouses, repair and upkeep of harbours, issuing cinema licences, providing public conveniences, managing cemeteries, acquisition/disposal of land, administering sheep dipping stations, funding reformatories and industrial schools and (later) vocational schools, taking over of roads, loans for water and sewerage schemes, setting speed limits, making grants for works of public amenity, recognition of local councils, requests for local telephone kiosks, Village Renewal Schemes, rates remission under Undeveloped Areas Acts 1952 to 1963 and Gaeltacht Areas Acts 1957 to 1971, appointment of lifeguards, approval of taxi fare revisions in the Cork Taxi Meter Area, contributions to arts events and organizations, provision of car parks, waste collection, provision of landfill and recycling facilities. For other functions, see the ‘Scope and Content’ of individual minute books. For the performance of its functions and day-to-day administration, the Council is reliant on its staff, and its key administrative officers. The post of County Secretary, occupied by Eugene Callanan from 1904 to 1931, was central to the development of the Council’s administration. County Surveyors oversaw the discharge of roads and public works in the county’s districts. A single office of County Engineer was created in 1958, incorporating the functions of the County Surveyors. The post of County Solicitor, also known as Law Agent, has existed since the creation of the Council. The office of County Librarian was created in 1925, and that of County Architect in 1964. The County Manager is supported in his work by Assistant County Managers. Initially there were two assistants, but since 1973 there have been three. For most of its existence, the Council has been funded by the collection of rates on property, supplemented by State grants. Over time, the importance of grants has grown, particularly after the abolition of domestic rates in 1978. The Council continues to derive income from development charges, motor taxation, and other sources. From its creation until 1968, the whole Council met at Cork Courthouse, which also served as its administrative headquarters. In 1968, the new Council Offices at County Hall on Carrigrohane Road, Cork, were opened. The Council also has divisional offices at Mallow (North) and Clonakilty and Skibbereen (West), as well as a network of area engineer’s offices and libraries throughout the county.
  • Archival History ↴

    Official Transfer from Cork County Council
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Cork County Council ↴

    The minute books of Cork County Council contain minutes of monthly, quarterly, annual, and special meetings of the whole Council. Also contained in most volumes are minutes of the Finance Committee, and also the Proposals, Scholarships, and Pensions Committees, and other committees and special committees. The Council’s chairman and vice-chairman are elected annually at the Annual Meeting, usually held in June/July. At the Annual Meeting following elections, appointments are made to committees of the Council, and to committees on which the Council is represented. The names of many of the committees in existence at different times are noted in the ‘Scope and Content’ of individual minute books. The special meeting for striking a Rate was generally held in May. For most of the Council’s existence, the estimates meeting, to approve expenditure for the coming year, has been held in March/April.

    The minutes record the proceedings, decisions, and resolutions of the Council, principally on policy and administrative and financial affairs. The key areas of focus, while changing over time, have tended to include Roads, Social Housing, Sanitation and Public Health, Higher Education Grants, Planning and Development, the Environment, and Estimates and Rates. The Council also frequently passed resolutions expressing its views on local, national, and international events and political developments.

    The early minute books reflect the strong nationalism of the years leading up to the creation of the Irish Free State (1922), and the growth of representative local democracy as electoral reforms in 1898, 1918, and 1935 gave more and more people the vote. The Council’s relationship with central government, particularly the Department of Local Government, remains an important subject throughout these volumes. In addition, its dealings with related authorities such as Urban and Rural District Councils and Boards of Health, and with bodies to which it appointed members, are well documented.

    The minutes are generally bound in volumes, having first been printed and signed by the chairman as approved. The first meeting after elections lists all members. All those in attendance at meetings are listed. There are a few gaps in the minutes; these are indicated where they occur.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

  • Arrangement ↴


Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open by appointment to those holding a current readers ticket.
Creation Dates1899-1993
Extent Medium59 volumes
Material Language ScriptEnglish, some Irish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationMicrofilm copies up to the year 1966 held by Cork County Library
Related MaterialArchives of Cork County Council.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteTimmy O'Connor
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40483