Limerick’s Directly Elected Mayor “must not undermine local councillors”

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by Alan Jacques

[email protected]

DEPUTY Richard O’Donoghue says he does not want Limerick’s 40 elected Council representatives to be undermined by a Directly Elected Mayor (DEM).

Instead, the Rural Independent TD wants to be assured that the elected members will be engaged in the process going forward.

“It is important, crucial really, that all councillors have an input into the way forward for Limerick, especially with regards the equality that will be spread between the county and the city,” Deputy O’Donoghue said this week.

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The County Limerick politician is also of the view that the funding of the new Mayor’s Municipal Budget, estimated at over €400 million, be funded by Central Government with an oversight from current elected members of the local authority.

“The Directly Elected Mayor, possessing a combination of political legitimacy and administrative clout, can become the key local networker exercising a pivotal role in horizontal as well as vertical coordination of Limerick,” he maintains.

“The provision to elect a new Mayor as a democratically legitimate and politically accountable leader, as well as an executive one, certainly increases the capacity of local Government for proactive policy-making and coordinated action. This must be welcomed and viewed as an opportunity to devolve power from Dublin and to the counties.”

Deputy O’Donoghue also believes that the potential exists to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of local Government across Limerick, thereby stimulating growth and employment.

“History and research tell us that the success of directly elected mayors in British and US cities has driven the current proposal to have one for Limerick.

“Mayors in international hotspots, including Manchester, London, Boston, and New York, have become the influential face of their city at home and abroad. This new opportunity for Limerick must be part of an overall modernisation of Irish local Government. While it is anticipated that the system of elected mayors will be extended to the wider country, Limerick will be the standard bearer.

“It is important that the new Directly Elected Mayor will not undermine the elected Council,” Deputy O’Donoghue concluded.