Dublin may have plebiscite on directly elected Mayor in 2021, Taoiseach says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

With a plebiscite to determine if there will be directly elected mayors in Cork, Limerick and Waterford due to take place next month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that a similar vote may take place in Dublin in 2021.

The Taoiseach is canvassing for a 'Yes' vote in that plebiscite which he says will transfer power outside of "Government Departments in Dublin".

"If approved, the Government will initiate legislation to allow for directly elected mayors to take up office in 2022. It’s a big change," he said

The Taoiseach added that a Citizen's Assembly will be set up in Dublin and whether the capital should have a directly elected Mayor will be one of the items on the agenda.

"Work is underway to establish a Dublin Citizens’ Assembly to consider what type of local government structure and directly elected mayor, if any, would be most appropriate to Dublin," he said in a speech to the Seanad marking Ireland's 70th anniversary as a Republic.

"Depending on the outcome of this Assembly, a plebiscite will be held on the subject in 2021."

While supporting the measure, Labour have raised questions as to the cost of the mayors, who will be paid €130,000 and have the right to appoint two advisers.

“The total cost of the office is €450,000 for the mayor and two special advisors. I am calling on the Minister to clarify why the office will cost nearly half a million euro a year,” said Limerick TD Jan O'Sullivan.

“A directly elected mayor is an exciting opportunity to strengthen local democracy in Ireland and will remove some of the democratic deficit at local authority level as we have one of the weakest systems of local government in Europe,” she added.

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