Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan, has stated that the Mayor of Limerick Bill remains deeply flawed.
Deputy Quinlivan made the comments following the conclusion of Housing and Local Government Committee meetings on amendments to the bill.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“The Limerick Mayor of Limerick Bill is a flawed piece of legislation. The bill, as it stands, has a limited level of powers for the new elected Mayor position. We have submitted numerous amendments on the bill, and they were debated over the last two days of Committee meetings.
“Unfortunately, many of these amendments I submitted were defeated but we will be raising them again at the next stage of the Bill process. The people of Limerick voted in 2019 for a democratically elected mayor with real executive powers. This is what they were promised, however the bill, as it stands, falls far short of this ambition.
“Two of the amendments that I submitted were of extreme importance, namely the insertion of additional functions to the role of the mayor and the power of the Mayor to select his or her own staff from within the Limerick City and County Council existing staff pool. The insertion of these proposals is vital to ensuring that the Mayoral office has the necessary responsibility and independence to make the office a viable entity.
“Our proposals, which were unfortunately rejected, would have allowed the Mayor to have a promotional and ambassadorial role in the delivery of a Living Wage. They included a Mayoral role that would also have responsibility for the advertising and promoting of Limerick as a national and international tourist destination, also a Mayor that would have executive powers in the realms waste management and potentially bring waste management and bin services under council control.
“We also advocated for a Mayor that would have executive powers for public realm improvements including disused and unused public spaces to ensure that these spaces are used by Limerick citizens. We also proposed that any new Mayor would have oversight with regards to the implementation of the Limerick Regeneration projects.
“And, crucially, if the mayor is to have an impact on delivery of houses, we proposed that the new mayor’s office would incorporate executive functions from the Chief Executive in the realms of land acquisition. Unfortunately, all these constructive and realistic proposals have been rejected by the Government.
“It is over four years since the people of Limerick voted in the plebiscite to introduce the position of an elected Mayor of Limerick. That is over four years for them to get this legislation right. In my view, what has been presented falls well short of what was promised and more importantly required.
“If we want this position to be a truly transformative one for local democracy and a template that will be followed by other local authorities, then it is incumbent on us, as legislators, to get this right. The position must not be a ribbon cutting ceremonial role. Regretfully, as the legislation stands the position will be little more than that. It is clearly a missed opportunity.”