Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (654)

Catherine Martin

Question:

654. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the funding of the difference in cost between the current annual cost of the Lord Mayor of Cork including salary, office, assistant staff, driver and pensions and the annual cost under the proposal for a directly elected Lord Mayor of Cork will be paid for from the Local Government Reform Fund following commitments made by the Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform; if the same commitment applies to proposals for directly elected mayors of Limerick and Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21542/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2019, plebiscites are taking place on 24 May 2019 in respect of Cork City Council, Limerick City and County Council and Waterford City and County Council, on the Government's proposal for directly elected mayors with executive functions. The Government's proposal is outlined in its policy paper, 'Directly elected mayors with executive functions: detailed policy proposals', published on 2 April 2019.

The Policy Paper provides that the cost of the establishment of an office of directly elected mayor with executive functions in a local authority would be met from local authority resources. The passing of the annual budget is a reserved function of the elected council and under the Government’s proposal, it would be a matter for the elected Council of each local authority to adopt the annual budget including the costs of the directly elected mayor’s office.

Each year an element of the Local Government Fund is generally utilised for important local government reform initiatives. I have committed that this funding would be available to contribute toward the establishment of the office of a directly elected mayor in one or all of the local authority areas concerned if the plebiscites pass.

If there is a majority vote, in any of the plebiscites, in favour of the Government's proposal, in accordance with the 2019 Act, the Minister is obliged to prepare and submit, within 2 years of the vote, to each House of the Oireachtas, a report with legislative proposals providing for a directly elected mayor with executive functions for that local authority.