The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor Michael Sheahan, and the Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan TD, today (2 December, 2019) launched the Advisory Group to advise on the establishment of a directly elected Mayor for Limerick.
The Mayor stated: “On 24 May this year, the people of Limerick voted in favour of a directly elected Mayor. This is a hugely important opportunity for Limerick, which will have the first ever directly elected Mayor in the State. It is also a very significant reform in the way local government works in the city and county. Limerick will deliver on the people’s decision with the best possible outcome for Limerick”.
“The introduction of a directly elected Mayor is a further step in the immensely positive journey of growth and development that has taken place in Limerick in recent years, not least since the merger of the City and County Councils in 2014. This has been led by the Council bringing public and private sector stakeholders together for the good of Limerick. The people of Limerick have said they want a directly elected Mayor with executive functions. It is important now that the elected Council and its executives, the business community, the voluntary sector and academia in Limerick help shape the new role of Mayor of Limerick to continue to be projected nationally and internationally as a dynamic, outward looking place to live, work and do business”, added the Minister.
The Implementation Advisory Group will build on the Policy Document voted on in the Plebiscite and advise the Minister on how best to establish and shape the role of directly elected Mayor in Limerick. The Group will examine the potential of the role into the future, and also the implications for the delivery of services and resourcing for Limerick City and County Council. It will consider the governance relationships between the new Mayor, the Council and the Executive and what possible extra functions the Mayor could take on. The Group will report to the Minister on these matters by summer 2020.
The Implementation Advisory Group will be chaired by Limerick man Mr Tim O’Connor, a career diplomat and former Secretary General to the President. “Tim O’Connor has extensive experience of central government but also has a deep understanding of local government in Limerick, through the Limerick City of Culture project, Limerick 2030 and other local initiatives. He has gained important insights into Mayors internationally, particularly in the United States, which he will bring to the role of Chairman”, said the Minister.
“I would like to thank my colleagues on the Council for their engagement. I want to also thank the other members of the Group, representatives of key stakeholders in Limerick, for their enthusiastic participation and I look forward to working with them on this exciting and challenging project”, added the Mayor.
Members of the Implementation Advisory Group on the establishment of a directly elected Mayor with executive functions for Limerick
- Mr Tim O’Connor, Chairman
- Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor Michael Sheahan
- Councillor John Sheahan, Limerick City and County Council
- Councillor Michael Collins, Limerick City and County Council
- Councillor Elena Secas, Limerick City and County Council
- Councillor Brian Leddin, Limerick City and County Council
- Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive, Limerick City and County Council
- Ms Caroline Curley, Director of Services, Limerick City and County Council
- Ms Dee Ryan, Chief Executive, Limerick Chamber
- Dr Diarmuid Scully, Centre for European Studies, University of Limerick
- Mr Jack Scanlan, Student President, University of Limerick
- A representative of Limerick Public Participation Network - to be appointed
- Mr Barry Quinlan, Assistant Secretary, Local Government Division, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
- Mr Diarmuid O’Leary, Local Government Division, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Terms of Reference for Implementation Advisory Group on Directly Elected Mayor with Executive Functions
The Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government hereby establishes an Implementation Advisory Group (the Group) to advise the Minister about putting in place a Directly Elected Mayor with Executive Functions, in accordance with the outcome of the recent plebiscite on Directly Elected Mayors in Limerick City and County and the Government report Directly Elected Mayors with Executive Functions: Detailed Policy Proposals.
1. The main functions of the Group are to:
- Provide advice to the Minister as to how best to establish and shape the role of Directly Elected Mayor in accordance with the outcome of the plebiscite in Limerick City and County and section 44 of the Local Government Act 2019, which provides that the Minister must, within 2 years from the date of the plebiscite, prepare and submit to each House of the Oireachtas a report “specifying proposals for the enactment of a law providing for a directly elected mayor of the administrative area in respect of which the plebiscite was held”
- Build upon the Government’s policy proposals as outlined in the Government report “Directly Elected Mayors with Executive Functions: Detailed Policy proposals”, and undertake a comprehensive examination and analysis of the key areas identified therein;
- Provide to the Minister relevant views, assessments and advice arising from the matters at (b) above, including an assessment of the implications of implementing a Directly Elected Mayor as outlined in the Government report;
- Report to the Minister in relation to the foregoing matters as required by the Minister, or as the Group considers appropriate, by the end of June 2020
2. Without restricting the scope or flexibility available to the Group pursuant to paragraph 1, and subject to any additional matters that the Minister may require, the Group shall, in particular, examine in detail the following matters through a series of expert sub-Groups:
Scope and future proofing:
- Determine the scope and range of the office of Directly Elected Mayor in the context of the economic, social and cultural development of Limerick City & County;
- Consider the role a Directly Elected Mayor could play at a strategic level in expanding government policies and developing initiatives at a local level that best works for Limerick City & County;
- Consider additional or new mayoral powers and functions, including potential for the devolution of functions to local authorities from central government departments or agencies.
- Having regard to the existing legislative framework, outline the most effective governance structures, in particular
- The role and powers/functions of an Executive Mayor including the allocation of powers and functions between the Directly Elected Mayor, the Chief Executive and the plenary Council;
- The format the governance framework will assume, including the Mayor’s relationship to the elected Council and the Chief Executive;
- General oversight of the Mayor, including ethical requirements;
- Opportunities and challenges
- Identify of current executive functions to be carried out by a Directly Elected Mayor;
- Having regard to the NPF and other national development policies, examine the potential of a Directly Elected Mayor in furthering the economic and social well-being and sustainable development of Limerick City and County, including the strategic role and impact of the City as a regional and national growth centre, and the respective characteristics and needs of the County’s rural areas; Central to that role will be working closely with key local stakeholders, including in Education, Business, Tourism, Healthcare, Sport, An Garda Síochana, Culture, other public bodies in the region, and the community and voluntary sector;
- Ensure cohesiveness, co-ordination, co-operation and collaboration in relation to customer services and delivery of services, and flexibility to adapt swiftly to strategic policy initiatives in areas such as housing, spatial planning, economic development, infrastructure, transport, and environment, culture and diaspora;
- Analyse the impact of this change in governance structures on the income, expenditure, assets, liabilities, functions and services of the local authority, to anticipated future trends and requirements in this regard, and to the requirements of addressing such implications;
- Articulate the resource implications of the Group’s recommendations, including anticipated costs and benefits (including potential savings and efficiency improvements).
3. To facilitate the effective performance of the functions of the Group:
The Group shall have regard to:
- Government report “Directly Elected Mayors with Executive Functions: Detailed Policy proposals;
- Key Government policies – ie the National Planning Framework, Ireland 2040, Rebuilding Ireland, the Action Plan for Rural Development, Global Ireland 2025 etc;
- Ongoing local policies – e.g. Limerick 2030, the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan, Internationalisation;
- Public consultation and outreach as considered appropriate.
The Group shall engage with other bodies, as necessary, and where the Group considers that it is necessary for the purpose of particular research, examination or analysis, the Minister may arrange for the provision of expert advice or services to the Group for that purpose.
4. The membership of the Group will include:
- The current Mayor of Limerick City and County;
- 4 other Elected Members, appointed by Limerick City & County as appropriate;
- 2 Officials from Limerick City & County to be nominated by the Chief Executive;
- A representative of Limerick Chamber of Commerce;
- A representative of the community and voluntary sector, nominated by the Limerick Public Participation Network;
- An academic from Limerick;
- A representative of the third level students in Limerick;
- 2 Officials from the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government.
The Group will determine the membership of each sub-Group in consultation with the Minister, and a member of the Group will chair each of the sub-groups as appropriate.
The chief executive and staff of Limerick City and County will have a key role within the process and will liaise with the Group, including through the provision of any available information, attendance at meetings, etc, as required by the Group or any of its subgroups.
Support functions will be provided to the Group and the subgroups by officials from the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government and from Limerick City & County as required.