The council is the third largest local authority in Ireland with a population of 265,205 (Census 2011), 90,000 households, and 6,000 businesses, covering an area of 222.74 square kilometres. There are 183,336 local government electors and 174,349 Dáil electors registered to vote in the County Council administrative area.
The Local Government Act 2001 established a two-tier structure of local government. The top tier consists of 29 county councils and five city councils. The bottom tier consists of town councils. The city of Kilkenny and four towns which had borough corporation status before 2001 (Sligo, Drogheda, Clonmel, and Wexford), are allowed to use the title of "Borough Council" instead of "Town Council", but they have no additional responsibilities. There are 75 other town councils in addition to these five borough councils. Outside the towns, the county councils are solely responsible for local services. There are no town councils within the county of Dublin South.
The Local Government Act 1994 defines how an authority may act. The local authority may provide,
It may also act as a library authority.
The Corporate Policy Group (CPG) consists of the Mayor together with the Chairs of each of the Strategic Policy Committees (SPC). The CPG is supported by the County Manager. Its function is to co-ordinate the work of the Committees so that policy decisions can be discussed and agreed for recommendation to the full council. "The CPG acts as a sort of Cabinet for the council and is supported by the County Manager."
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are chosen from among the councillors.