Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan has raised concerns regarding the slow progress through the Dáil of the legislation for a democratically elected mayor of Limerick.
Teachta Quinlivan also highlighted the reported resistance of government departments to the devolution of powers to such a democratically elected Mayor.
The Programme for Government had committed to holding the election in 2021, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic this timeline has not been met.
Addressing the Tánaiste, Teachta Quinlivan said:
“In May 2019 the people of Limerick voted on the issue of a directly elected mayor. To date, despite efforts by myself and others to find out a timeline for when we would see the legislation, and crucially, when the election will take place, we have had no update.
“Last week the Minister of State said there is a big challenge in getting powers from Dublin devolved to Limerick and called for any help colleagues could give him.
“I hope the Tánaiste will provide some clarity on this remark, as it suggests to me that there may be an effort by some Ministers and their Departments to limit the proposed powers of a future democratically elected mayor in Limerick.
Responding to the queries raised by Teachta Quinlivan, the Tánaiste acknowledged that there is “some bureaucratic resistance from certain Departments – not mine – when it comes to the delegation and devolution of functions.”
Minister Varadkar committed to having the legislation before the Dáil by the summer.
Teachta Quinlivan continued:
“Any failure to devolve powers would be an utter betrayal of what the Limerick people voted for in 2019.
“The people expect the Mayor to be more than a ribbon cutter, and any chance to dilute or withhold powers would be a significant problem for us.
“It is essential that any attempts to withhold powers to from an elected Mayor are resisted. We must deliver proper powers to ensure that the new mayoral position is effective.
“I have no doubt that, with the correct powers, the directly elected mayoral position has the potential to be transformative and will be replicated in other Cities across the state.”