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Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign to hold public meetings in Cork, Limerick and Waterford this week

Published on Monday, 13 May 2019
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  • Cork City: Tuesday, 14 May, in the Atrium, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork (7.30-9.00pm)
  • Waterford: Wednesday 15 May, in the Tower Hotel, The Mall, Waterford (7.30-9.00pm)
  • Limerick: Thursday 16 May, in the lecture theatre of the Computer Science Building at the University of Limerick (7.30-9.00pm)

Sunday 12 May 2019

The Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign will hold public meetings on the plebiscites on directly elected mayors with executive functions this week in the three administrative areas in which plebiscites will be held on 24 May.

Speaking ahead of the public meetings the committee’s chairperson, former Judge of the High Court, Henry Abbott, said: “Providing impartial, factual information to the public and others on the plebiscite is the committee’s objective. I see these public meetings as a key part of our work ahead of May 24th. I would invite all who are available and interested to come along to the meeting in their council’s area, to learn more about the issues on which people will vote in less than two weeks.

“These public meetings, I believe, will compliment the committee’s work to date, both the production of guides to the plebiscite, being distributed to all households in Cork City, Limerick and Waterford, and our various communications through traditional and social media. I want to thank the three councils for their assistance in organising these meetings.”

Notes to editors

  • Justice Henry Abbott, chairperson of the Committee to Oversee the Plebiscite Public Information Campaign, is available for media interviews this coming week. Please contact the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s press office to arrange.
  • 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.
  • Under the proposals, a Mayor/Lord Mayor would be elected for a five-year term for a maximum of two terms. At present, the Lord Mayor/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 a local authority 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 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 a local authority 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 and bring it before both Houses of the Oireachtas.
  • The consequences of a Yes or No vote in a council’s administrative area will not be impacted by the decisions of the other electorates.
  • 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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