THE minister with responsibility for local government reform says he’s committed to ensuring the first vote for a directly elected mayor of Limerick takes place in 2021.
It follows the plebiscite in May which was passed by voters in Limerick by a margin of 52.4% (38,122) to 47.6% (34,573).
John Paul Phelan was speaking at the launch of the implementation advisory group which met for the first time this Monday.
The group will be chaired by Killeedy native Tim O’Connor while other members include Pat Daly, chief executive of Limerick City and Council, Mayor Michael Sheahan and Dee Ryan, chief executive of Limerick Chamber.
“Limerick is a place that has transformed dramatically over the last decade and perhaps it should be no surprise to people like me from outside that Limerick is the one that’s leading the way in terms of reform and will be the first place to have a directly elected mayor and I just want to tell the people of Limerick that ye have made the decision to go this direction and it’s up to people like me to ensure the decision is delivered,” Mr Phelan told The Limerick Leader.
⬇️ Speaking at the launch of the Implementation Advisory Group for a directly elected Mayor of Limerick, @JPPhelan says it's important the result of last year's plebiscite is implemented as soon as possible. Full story soon at https://t.co/AVFlCJwz1r pic.twitter.com/lmIGdoTHCq— David Hurley (@DHurleyLL) December 2, 2019
The implementation advisory group is due to complete its report by next June while it’s hoped the required legislation will be enacted by the end of 2020.
“It is incredibly important to be getting the committee up and running and to start work and to actually implement the decision that the people of Limerick city and county made to have a directly elected executive mayor. It’s an opportunity to change local government in Ireland – not just in Limerick city and county but potentially everywhere else because if we make a success of this it will be followed everywhere,” said UL academic and former Mayor of Limerick, Dr Diarmuid Scully, who is a member of the Group.
Tim O’Connor, a career diplomat who served as secretary general to President Mary McAleese, says the work of the implementation advisory group over the coming months will be important in ensuring the result of the plebiscite is enacted.
“The key point is that mandate comes directly from the people and building on the success of the Limerick city and county because the county is going to be very heavily involved and I think is a great opportunity to build on that success and drive forward to the next stage,” he said.
The members of the implementation advisory group are: Tim O’Connor, Chairman; Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Sheahan; Cllr John Sheahan, Cllr Michael Collins, Cllr Elena Secas, Cllr Brian Leddin, Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive, Limerick City and County Council; Caroline Curley, Director of Services, Limerick City and County Council; Dee Ryan, Chief Executive, Limerick Chamber; Dr Diarmuid Scully, Centre for European Studies, University of Limerick; Jack Scanlan, Student President, University of Limerick; Barry Quinlan, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; Diarmuid O’Leary, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.