To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the estimated first and full year cost of setting up directly elected mayors; the estimated annual cost thereafter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
On 24 May 2019, the electors of the administrative areas of Cork City, Limerick City and County and Waterford City and County Councils will be asked to vote in a plebiscite on the Government’s proposal for a Mayor with executive functions to be directly elected by the people.
An independent Committee, chaired by Henry Abbott, a retired judge of the High Court, and including representatives from the three local authorities, my Department and the Local Government Management Agency, as well as an independent legal advisor, was established to facilitate and oversee the provision of impartial and factual information to the electorates in the three areas regarding the plebiscites. Following its consideration of the issue of the costs involved, the Committee has stated in its guide to voters that "while the full costs are unknown, the additional costs of the Government's proposals to establish an office of directly elected Mayor with executive functions could range from around €313,000 to €450,000".
The Local Government Act 2019 provides for the holding of the plebiscites. Under the Act, if the proposal is approved by a majority of voters in any of the three areas, the Minister will submit a report to the Oireachtas with legislative proposals for an election of a Mayor by the people of that area. The Oireachtas will then consider the legislation. If the law is passed, a direct election for Mayor with executive functions will take place for the area concerned.
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