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Chairperson of Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign on Directly Elected Mayors urges the people of Cork City, Limerick and Waterford to vote on Friday

Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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The Chairperson of the Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign, Henry Abbott, today (22 May 2019) urged the people of Cork City, Limerick and Waterford to vote in Friday’s plebiscite on a directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor with executive functions. A plebiscite is an electoral poll consulting the public on a proposal.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s plebiscite, Chairperson and retired judge of the High Court, Henry Abbott, said: “Friday’s plebiscites on a directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor with executive functions are a matter for the people of Cork City, Limerick and Waterford. I would urge everyone who is on the electoral register in the areas in question to take the time to inform themselves ahead of Friday’s plebiscite and to have their say on the day. Anyone who is eligible to vote in the local elections in Cork City, Limerick or Waterford is eligible to vote in the plebiscite.”

On the committee’s public information campaign, Chairperson Abbott added: “The committee has conducted an energetic public information campaign since April 15th. The campaign has included providing a printed guide to the plebiscite to every household, public meetings, a social media campaign and strong engagement with the media. We hope people have found it informative. If people need more information before voting on Friday, I would urge them to visit www.mayors.gov.ie. They can also contact mayors@housing.gov.ie and we will try and answer any questions.”  

 [ENDS]

Notes to editors

  • On 24 May 2019, the people living in Cork City, Limerick City and County, and Waterford City and County will be asked if they approve of the Government’s proposal for a directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor with executive functions for their area. Polling in the plebiscite will take place between 7am and 10pm.
  • The committee’s public information campaign, which began on 15 April, has included:
    • Each household in the three administrative areas receiving a printed guide to the plebiscite
    • A dedicated webpage about the plebiscites, www.mayors.gov.ie. This has a downloadable, detailed guide to the plebiscite for each of the three administrative areas, a short video on the plebiscites and a Frequently Asked Questions document 
    • A newspaper, radio and social media advertising campaign to raise awareness of the plebiscites and the public meetings
    • A social media campaign, on Twitter and Facebook, informing the public about the plebiscite 
    • A public information meeting, presided over by Chairperson Abbott, in Cork City, Limerick and Waterford
    • Strong media engagement, including local media briefings at the launch of the public information on 15 April and media interviews during the campaign
    • A poster campaign, with posters displayed in local authority offices and elsewhere
  • Under the proposals, a Mayor/Lord Mayor would be elected for a five-year term for a maximum of two terms. At present, the Mayor/Lord Mayor of a council is a serving Councillor elected for a one-year term by other Councillors. Under the Government’s proposal, the directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor would assume some of the executive functions currently held by a council’s Chief Executive and the representational role currently held by the Mayor/Lord Mayor. They would also have additional functions, not currently performed, such as preparing a 5-year Programme of Office.
  • The plebiscite is taking place under provisions of the Local Government Act 2019. Under the Act, if the proposal is accepted by a majority of voters in an administrative area, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government would prepare and submit to each House of the Oireachtas a report with proposals for enacting a law providing for a directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor with executive functions. The Houses of the Oireachtas will not be legally required to pass any draft law presented to it by the Minister. If legislation was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas and signed by the President, the Government would facilitate an election for a directly elected mayor with executive functions.  
  • If the proposal is not approved by a majority of voters in an administrative area, the current structure of local government, including the division of responsibilities between the reserved functions of elected representatives and the executive functions of the Chief Executive, would remain the same. The Government and members of the Oireachtas would retain the ability to produce legislation for a directly elected Mayor/Lord Mayor and bring it before both Houses of the Oireachtas.
  • The consequences of a Yes or No vote in an administrative area will not be impacted by the outcomes of the plebiscites in the other administrative areas.
  • People are encouraged to check if they are registered to vote at www.checktheregister.ie.
  • The Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign, chaired by retired judge of the High Court, Henry Abbott, also includes:
  1. representatives of Cork City Council; Waterford City and County Council; and Limerick City and County Council
  2. a representative of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
  3. a representative of the Local Government Management Agency
  4. an independent legal advisor
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