Local government represented one of the undoubted success stories of the First Dáil, notwithstanding many problems and with certain minor reservations.
At first, local government was far from the top of the list of immediate priorities for those involved in the planning for 21 January 1919. They had just emerged from the hustle and bustle of the 1918 general election, which was immediately followed by the business of establishing the Dáil itself.
There was another good reason for hastening slowly. The local government bodies were at that time dominated by the separatists’ sworn political opponents. However, the British Government was determined to organise new local elections in Ireland in 1920. As soon as the national institutions ‑ notably the Dáil and the ministries established under its auspices ‑ were in place, attention began to turn to local government.