THE first directly-elected Mayor of Limerick will take office in September 2021, it has been confirmed.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, says he hopes the required legislation will be enacted by the end of next year and that the first election will take place in May 2021.
He revealed details of the expected timeline at a public meeting on Monday night – the first since voters in Limerick voted yes in the Mayoral Plebiscite.
.@MurphyEoghan is speaking at a public meeting in Limerick to discuss the recent plebiscite on proposals for a directly elected mayor which was passed by a majority of voters in Limerick. See https://t.co/AVFlCJwz1r and our print editions for details later in the week pic.twitter.com/ELELAaildk— David Hurley (@DHurleyLL) July 1, 2019
“We believe we have the time and space now to make sure that we can have that first election in May of 2021 – that will allow us time to decide on what those changes should be for the new office but also give us the time to implement them in law,” he said.
An implementation advisory group – made up of councillors as well as council staff and management – is to be established in the coming weeks along with an inter-departmental group.
The advisory group will be tasked to “do a piece of work over” to inform Government of the decisions that need to be taken.
“They are going to propose the division of functions between the executive, the elected members and the new directly-elected mayor,” said Mr Murphy.
Other speakers at the meeting, which was organised by Senator Maria Byrne, included Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber; Clair Hayes of Capital Limerick and Diarmuid Scully, Doctor of Political Science at UL.
Ms Hayes – who works as a solicitor in Dublin – says it’s important the result of the plebiscite is implemented.
“There are many people out there who didn’t and, probably, still don’t believe in its potential but the vote has been passed and the focus must now turn to three things in my view. Firstly, the remit of our mayor – how do we make our mayor work for us? Secondly, who do we want that person to be? – electing someone who is appropriately qualified for the job and thirdly holding that person accountable,” she said.
The vote on a directly elected mayor was passed by a margin of 52.4% (38,122) to 47.6% (34,573). It was rejected by voters in Waterford and Cork city.