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Government approves drafting of legislation for new role of directly elected mayor for Limerick

Limerick is the first city that will have a directly-elected mayor after locals voted for the move in 2019.

Limerick City
Limerick City

THE GOVERNMENT HAS today approved the drafting of legislation for the new role of a directly elected mayor for Limerick City and County with executive responsibilities. 

The electorate of Waterford, Limerick and Cork city went to the polls in 2019 to decide whether or not they wanted to have a directly-elected mayor but only Limerick voted in favour.

The concept would see someone directly elected by the people and given a significant amount of the powers currently held by the chief executive who runs the local council. 

Minister of State Peter Burke today confirmed that the legislation required to enable the first election for a directly elected mayor will be advanced as quickly as possible, with the aim of an election taking place before the end of this year. 

As the role is due to come into existence in the middle of the local government electoral cycle, the first mayoral term will run until the local elections in 2029. 

The government has decided that the directly elected mayor will have many of the executive functions currently held by the local authority’s chief executive. 

These areas include housing and building, road transport and safety, strategic development and environmental services. 

The government today also sanctioned government departments to explore the potential transfer of additional functions to a directly elected mayor for Limerick once the role has been created.

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The proposed legislation will be consistent with the implementation advisory group’s recommended governance structures. These will include:

  • The directly elected mayor being empowered to develop a ‘Programme for Local Government in Limerick’, a programme setting out the mayor’s vision and ambitions for Limerick, for approval by the elected council.
  • The mayor being responsible for drafting the local authority’s annual budget, for approval by the elected council.
  • The Chief Executive (to be re-named a ‘Director General’) retaining responsibility for functions such as managing and accounting for the council’s finances.
  • The elected council retaining its reserved functions.

“Today’s decision marks the next step towards the people of Limerick having a directly elected mayor with significant powers,” Minister Burke said.

“Having a directly elected mayor will enable the people of Limerick to have a greater say over how services and infrastructure are delivered and how Limerick develops,” he said.

“The new role will be a starting point, a basis on which more powers will be decentralised to Limerick over time, possibly including greater financial autonomy.”

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