- Government aims to legislate to enable first election for directly mayor to take place before end of this year. First mayoral term will last until 2029.
- Minister Burke publishes Implementation Advisory Group report.
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 functions (responsibilities). The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, 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 2021. 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 of 2029.
In line with the IAG’s recommendations, 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. Minister Burke laid the IAG’s report (available shortly here) before the Houses of the Oireachtas today.
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.
The proposed legislation will be consistent with the IAG’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.
Speaking after the Government’s decision to approve legislative drafting, Minister Burke said: “Today’s decision marks the next step towards the people of Limerick having a directly elected mayor with significant powers. 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. 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.
“I want to again thank the implementation advisory group, chaired by Tim O’Connor, for its work in producing the report. The Government has accepted the recommendations on how the council should be structured. Some of the report recommendations would have far-reaching consequences and require further consideration.”
Minister Burke and the Government aims to publish legislation in the second quarter of this year. This legislation, if enacted, would enable the Programme for Government commitment to an election for a directly elected mayor in Limerick in 2021 to be met.