A directly-elected Lord Mayor in Cork, Limerick and Waterford would have a significant mandate, which would be reflected in his/her dealings with the Government, said Fine Gael European Election candidate for Ireland South, Andrew Doyle.
“Voters in Cork, Limerick and Waterford will have an opportunity to vote in the Government’s plebiscite for a directly-elected Mayor for the city on May 24th, the same day as the local and European elections and the referendum on the regulation on divorce,” he explained.
“Under the Government’s proposal, voters in these areas will be asked if they want directly elected mayors to assume some or all of the functions now performed by council chief executives (CE).
“The first elections will take place in 2021, with the first mayor getting a two-and-a-half year term, five years from 2024. The mayor would be paid €130,000, and have the right to appoint two advisers. The cost of the office could be up to €450,000 a year in each of the three areas.
“If the electorate in Cork, Limerick and Waterford opt to have a directly-elected Lord Mayor, that person would have a big mandate. All three areas have large populations and that’s a lot of citizens to represent when they approach the Government for funding for housing, transport, investment and other infrastructure.
“And if that person doesn’t perform well and do a good job, they don’t get returned to office. They are, therefore, under pressure to deliver on what the people expect.
“Of the 27 EU capitals, 23 have directly elected Lord Mayors. The population of Cork, Limerick and Waterford are continuing to grow and with that growth comes different requirements for each demographic. With one key figurehead driving a specific agenda, cities undergoing periods of growth and transition can really flourish.
“This plebiscite is an opportunity for citizens in Cork, Limerick and Waterford to shape their own city by potentially electing a Lord Mayor who will reflect their vision for their city. The true power here really lies with the people.”