The people of Limerick City and County decided in a plebiscite held on 24 May 2019 to support the Government's proposals for a directly elected mayor with executive functions for their Council area. The focus now is on carrying out the necessary preparatory work and delivering on the will of the people.
Under Section 44 of the Local Government Act 2019, I, as Minister, am required to prepare and submit to the Houses of the Oireachtas a report with legislative proposals for a directly elected mayor for Limerick.
Under the Act, the report and legislative proposals must be submitted within two years of the plebiscite vote, which would be 24 May 2021. However, I have set a more ambitious target and have asked my Department to prioritise this work with a view to bringing the report and legislative proposals forward at the earliest opportunity, targeting an election for Mayor of Limerick City and County Council in 2021.
The preparatory work will be guided by the policy approach set out in the published document "Directly Elected Mayors with Executive Functions: Detailed Policy Proposals" approved by the Government on 20 March 2019. There is also further significant work underway to systematically analyse all legislation conferring functions and powers on local authority chief executives and this involves consultation with key stakeholders, including other Government Departments.
As part of the implementation process, I intend to establish an implementation advisory group, comprising representatives of the key stakeholders, particularly the elected Council and management of Limerick City and County Council, to advise on the implementation of the mandate given by the people of Limerick. I expect this Group will be established in time to meet for the first time in September, to approve its terms of reference and work programme.