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Plebiscites for Directly Elected Mayors

On 24 May 2019, the people of Cork City; Limerick City and County; and Waterford City and County will have an opportunity to vote in a plebiscite on a proposed directly elected mayor with executive functions (duties). A plebiscite is an electoral poll consulting the public on a proposal.

Voters in the three council areas will be asked if they approve a proposal that would allow the people of their council area to directly elect a mayor with executive functions for a five-year term. At present, the mayor of a council (called a mayor in Limerick City and County, and Waterford City and County, called a lord mayor in Cork City) is elected for a one-year term by other councillors. Under the Government’s proposal, the directly elected mayor would have more functions than a mayor/lord mayor currently has, including some or all of the executive functions held by the relevant chief executive.

The plebiscite is taking place through provisions in the Local Government Act 2019. Under the Act, if the proposal is accepted by a majority of voters in a council’s administrative area, the Minister will submit a report to the Oireachtas with legislative proposals for an election of mayor by the people. The Oireachtas will then consider the legislation. If the law is passed, an election for mayor will take place.

If the proposal is rejected by a majority of voters in a council’s administrative area, the current balance of powers and functions will not be changed without legislation.  

You can read more information on the plebiscite in your area in:

The guide to the plebiscite on a directly elected lord mayor with executive functions for Cork City

The guide to the plebiscite on a directly elected mayor with executive functions for Limerick City and County

The guide to the plebiscite on a directly elected mayor with executive functions for Waterford City and County

For more information, please email: mayors@housing.gov.ie

Sample Ballot Paper

Ballot Paper
Ballot Paper

Video on plebiscites for directly elected mayors

Plebiscite on a directly elected mayor

Accessible version of video on plebiscites for directly elected mayors

Accessible version of video

Public meetings on the plebiscites

As part of the public information campaign on the plebiscites, the Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign will hold public information meetings about the plebiscites.

Public meeting on the plebiscite for a directly elected lord mayor with executive functions for Cork City: Tuesday 14 May 2019

Public meeting on the plebiscite for a directly elected mayor with executive functions for Waterford City and County: Wednesday 15 May 2019

Public meeting on the plebiscite for a directly elected mayor with executive functions for Limerick City and County: Thursday 16 May 2019

Details of the time and venues for these meetings will be published on this webpage. If you would like to be notified when details of the meetings are announced, please email: mayors@housing.gov.ie

If I live in one of these three areas am I eligible to vote in the plebiscite?

In order to be able to vote in their council’s plebiscite, a person's name must be entered on the Register of Electors in either:

  • Cork City Council
  • Limerick City and County Council
  • Waterford City and County Council

People are encouraged to check if they are registered to vote at www.checktheregister.ie.

Application forms will need to be received by the registration authority (council) for the area in which the applicant is resident not later than Tuesday, 07 May 2019

For those seeking inclusion in the supplement to the postal and special voters lists, the relevant application forms will need to be received by the registration authority not later than Sunday, 28 April 2019.

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