The Cabinet today approved a number of issues regarding directly-elected mayors in Cork, Limerick and Waterford.
Plebiscites are due to take place on the same day as the European elections in May, with the first elections in 2021.
The mayor will earn the same salary as a junior minister, around €94,000, and will also have powers to set the local budget and devise a development plan for the area.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar explained which powers will be transferred to directly elected mayors.
"The directly-elected mayor will propose the budget, will propose the development plans, but individual decisions will remain with the CEO," he said.
"For example, deciding which individual is allocated a house, individual planning decisions and human resources matter within the local authorities will stay with the Chief Executive Officer."