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02/08/2021

WATCH: Plans for directly elected mayor in Limerick delayed

THE Minister with responsibility for the delivery of Limerick's new executive mayor has admitted the election for the role won't take place this year.

Local Government Minister Peter Burke was in the city today meeting with local councillors and the business community on the ambitious scheme, which will see Limerick become the first city in the State to elect a first citizen by popular vote.

With Limerick having passed the proposal in a plebiscite in 2019, there were hopes the first ever executive mayor could be in office this year.

But Covid-19 has delayed matters, and now Mr Burke believes that Limerick people will go to the polls "early next year".

"Getting the legislation through is going to take a bit of time, because there are lots of competing interests in terms of priority in terms of housing - our affordable housing bill, we have the Land Development Agency going through and the Residential Tenancies Bill in terms of more protection for renters. So there's a lot of priority legislation going through."

"I'm hoping, if we get the bill enacted in the autumn, obviously government leaders will need to sit down and plan a date which will hopefully be some time earlier next year," the minister added.

Currently, the plans for the mayor are before the Oireachtas being scrutinised by committee.

“In April, the Government approved the General Scheme of the directly elected mayor with executive functions (Limerick City and County Council) 2021 bill which has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for priority drafting and this complex piece of legislation will progress over the coming weeks and months. In parallel, I presented the General Scheme to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage as part of their pre-legislative scrutiny on 18 of May and this process continues," Mr Burke said.

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