Sinn Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan has called on Green Party Ministers to clarify their position on the devolution of powers to a democratically Elected Mayor of Limerick.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“Media reports today have suggested that there has been a hesitation by Green Party Ministers to commit to the releasing of powers to a democratically Elected Mayor of Limerick.
“If true, this would be an incredible situation. The failure to furnish the directly Elected Mayor with the necessary powers relating to transport and sport would be detrimental to the viability of the role, and a betrayal of what the people of Limerick voted for.
“The people of Limerick voted for the establishment of a directly Elected Mayor – the first county in the state to do so.
“It is crucially important that we get this right. We have a once in a generation opportunity to shape the future of local government in this state.
“The Elected Mayoral position cannot be a ribbon cutter with little power. The directly Elected Mayor of Limerick must be a position in which there are real powers over matters of local importance.
“We do not need a figure head. We need a Mayoral position that can deliver on the mandate they receive.
“The Green Party, particularly those in ministerial office, must urgently clarify their position on the democratically Elected Mayor.
“Do they want a ceremonial position, or do they want a position through which real change can be delivered? We don’t know.
“Following the establishment of an Independent Advisory Group, Sinn Féin were the only political party to produce a submission outlining what we believed the office of a directly Elected Mayor should look like.
“In our submission we recommended that the new office of a directly Elected Mayor should have clearly defined executive powers including transport, major roads, waste management and tourism – and that these powers should be granted to the Mayor by a process of rolling devolution.
“This remains our position. In our submission we stressed that the current powers of Councillors be retained and that we must ensure that clear avenues are established for the Mayor to be held accountable by Councillors.
“While we have some concerns about the Heads of Bill, particularly regarding the powers that the Chief Executive will have, we are committed to ensuring that the wishes of the voters are respected and that Limerick delivers on a directly Elected Mayor with real powers.
We in Sinn Féin look forward to seeing the Minister’s Bill and the opportunity to submit amendments to strengthen the role of the democratically Elected Mayor position.
“We need clarity from the Green Party about where they stand on this issue, and where they stand on the devolution of powers from central government.”