Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840

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Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Long title An Act for the Regulation of Municipal Corporations in Ireland
Citation 3 & 4 Vict. c. 108
Territorial extentIreland
Royal assent 10 August 1840
Commencement 25 October 1840
Repealed1972 and 2001
Other legislation
Repealed by Local Government Act 2001 (Ireland), Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 (Northern Ireland)
Status: Repealed

The Municipal Corporations Act (Ireland) 1840 (3 & 4 Vict. c. 108), An Act for the Regulation of Municipal Corporations in Ireland, was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 10 August 1840. It was one of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Acts 1840 to 1888. [1]


The Act followed similar lines to the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 which reformed municipal boroughs in England and Wales. Prior to the passing of the Act, there were 68 borough corporations in Ireland Many of them were ineffective, some virtually defunct and none of them in any way representative of their populations. The Act dissolved all but 10 of the corporations.

The Reformed corporations

Borough boundary marker in Limerick, erected 1842 and citing this act. Borough of Limerick plaque.jpg
Borough boundary marker in Limerick, erected 1842 and citing this act.

The ten reformed corporations, which were named in Schedule A to the Act were to be styled as Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses, with the exception of Dublin where the title Right Honourable Lord Mayor was retained.

1 Belfast Antrim and Down
2 Clonmel Tipperary
3 Cork (County of the City) Cork
4 Drogheda (County of the Town) Louth and Meath
5 Dublin (County of the City) Dublin
6 Kilkenny (County of the City; merging the
former boroughs of Kilkenny and Irishtown)
7 Limerick (County of the City) Limerick
8 Derry (City) Londonderry
9 Sligo Sligo
10 Waterford (County of the City) Waterford

Dissolved boroughs

Under section 13 of the Act, the remaining 58 borough corporations were dissolved on 25 October 1840. The extinguished boroughs were listed in schedules B and I of the Act. Boroughs in schedule B could petition for a grant of a charter restoring borough status, as could any town with a population of more than 3,000. Boroughs in Schedule I were already effectively extinct at the time of the passing of the Act, and so were not permitted to apply for such a charter.

Wexford's application for restoration of its charter was granted in 1846. Cashel also applied, [2] but without success.

Boroughs in Schedule B

1 Ardee Louth
2 Armagh (City) Armagh
3 Athlone Roscommon and Westmeath
4 Athy Kildare
5 Bandon or Bandon Bridge Cork
6 Boyle Roscommon
7 Callan Kilkenny
8 Carlow Carlow
9 Carrickfergus (County of the Town retained) Antrim
10 Cashel (City) Tipperary
11 Charleville Cork
12 Cloghnakilty Cork
13 Coleraine Londonderry
14 Dingle Kerry
15 Dundalk Louth
16 Dungannon Tyrone
17 Ennis Clare
18 Enniscorthy Wexford
19 Enniskillen Fermanagh
20 Fethard Wexford
21 Galway (County of the Town retained) Galway
22 Gorey Wexford
23 Kells Meath
24 Kinsale Cork
25 Longford Longford
26 Maryborough Queen's
27 Monaghan Monaghan
28 Naas Kildare
29 Navan Meath
30 New Ross Wexford
31 Portarlington Queen's and King's
32 Strabane Tyrone
33 Tralee Kerry
34 Trim Meath
35 Tuam Galway
36 Wexford Wexford
37 Wicklow Wicklow
38 Youghal Cork

Boroughs in Schedule I

39 Ardfert Kerry
40 Athenry Galway
41 Baltinglass Wicklow
42 Bangor Down
43 Belturbet Cavan
44 Carlingford Louth
45 Castlemartyr Cork
46 Cavan Cavan
47 Charlemont Armagh
48 Duleek Meath
49 Hillsborough Down
50 Inistioge Kilkenny
51 Kilbeggan Westmeath
52 Kildare Kildare
53 Killileagh Down
54 Kilmallock Limerick
55 Lifford Donegal
56 Midleton Cork
57 Newtownards Down
58 Thomastown Kilkenny

Town commissioners

Many of the extinguished boroughs had an additional form of local government in place, in the form of commissioners appointed under the Lighting of Towns (Ireland) Act, 1828. Where such a body existed, it was deemed to be the successor to the corporation. Section 16 of the Act provided that any borough dissolved with property worth more than £100, and which did not have commissioners under the 1828 Act, should have a board of "Municipal Commissioners" established. In most cases, the commissioners appointed under the terms of the 1840 Act eventually adopted the terms of the 1828 Act or its replacement, the Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act 1854. By 1876, only Carrickfergus was still governed by commissioners appointed under the 1840 Act. [3]

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Hansard debates on Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bills, 1835–1840
SessionCommonsLordsOther house's amendments
(1st &) 2nd rCtee3rd r2nd rCtee (& Rpt)3rd rL in CC in L2nd L in C
18351st r:  Jul 31
2nd r: Aug  10 12
Aug 13 Aug 17
1836 Feb 29 Mar  7   8   14   18   21   22   23 Mar 28 Apr 18 Apr 26, May  9   16 May 18 May 19, Jun  10   13 Jun  17   27 Jun 30
18371st r: Feb  7   8
2nd r:  Feb 17
Feb  20   21   22, Mar 20 Apr  10   11 Apr  13   25 May 5 Jun 9
1837–381st r: Dec  5   11
2nd r:  Feb 2
May 29, Jun  1   11   15   18 Jun 25 Jul 9 Jul 12 Jul 27 Aug 2 Aug 4 Aug 9
18391st r:  Feb 14
2nd r: Mar  1   8   22
Jun 28 Jul 4 Jul 15 Jul 22 Jul 25 Aug 5 Aug 12
1840 Feb 14 Feb  24   28, Mar 3 Mar 9 Mar 23, May 4 May  14   15, Jun  12   19   29, Jul 6
Rpt: Jul 10
Jul  20   31 Aug 3 Aug  5   6 Aug 7


  1. The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and Schedule 2
  2. Return of Towns in Ireland from which Petitions have been presented for Charters of Incorporation. Sessional papers. HC 45 335. 22 May 1845. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  3. Select Committee on Local government and taxation of towns (Ireland) (11 July 1876). Report and proceedings. Command papers. C.352. p. 3 §15. Retrieved 26 November 2014.