Elected Mayor of Limerick Bill a ‘fudged’ version of original ambition

Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan

SINN Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan insists the legislation for a democratically elected mayor of Limerick falls short of what is needed.

The Limerick politician made the comments last week at Leinster House during a debate on the recently published legislation.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Quinlivan commented: “Unfortunately, as the Bill stands, it falls short of a meaningful change in local government and offers us a ceremonial mayor role and not a position with meaningful powers and influence. It certainly isn’t a beacon of progress that other local authorities would wish to aspire to.”

The Sinn Féin TD criticised the length of time it has taken to publish the legislation, noting that the Limerick plebiscite was held over four years ago.

“The continuous delays in bringing forward the legislation has dampened the original appetite for this legislation. Before the first Mayor of this new office has been elected, we face a challenge in ensuring a level of public interest in the establishment of the office and the election of someone to this office.

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“As for the Bill itself, we welcome the legislation broadly but there are some critical points that I feel the Bill has either failed to address or has fudged to such a degree that the role that was originally proposed to the people of Limerick is not reflective of what is contained in this Bill.”

Deputy Quinlivan also noted that he and his party would be submitting amendments and outlined some of his concerns regarding the Bill.

“More devolved powers should be specified in this bill. We want the case of Limerick to be the reference point for other areas where the establishment of a Directly Elected Mayor is a feasible possibility. Without additional powers, other areas will rightly see the role (in Limerick) as a fundamentally ceremonial one and I can’t see other areas looking for a DEM with such limited powers. What we discuss today falls far short of a dynamic change in the approach to local government.”

Meanwhile, Limerick Chamber welcomed the introduction of the Local Government (Mayor of Limerick) Bill 2023.

“This role has the potential to greatly support the economic development and sustainability of our region into the future. We look forward to engaging with Oireachtas members to ensure the final bill can deliver the maximum impact for the benefit of our people. We advocated for local government reform in 2019 and we are pleased to now to be on the final stage of realisation,” Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber, said.