‘No plans’ for Dubliners to vote in June on directly elected mayor

Day of local and European elections had previously been mooted as likely date to put question of directly elected mayor to voters in Dublin

“No plans have been made” for Dubliners to go to the polls alongside other elections in June to decide if they want a directly elected mayor for the capital, the Department of Local Government has said.

The day of the local and European elections had been mooted at a Cabinet meeting last year as a likely date for the plebiscite to be held.

However, with eight weeks to go until polling day on June 7th for the local and European elections the chances of a plebiscite being held at that stage appear slim.

The department is still considering reports on the proposed new office, drawn up by the Citizens’ Assembly on local government in Dublin and the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Local Government.


A spokeswoman said: “The Government will, in due course, consider and publish its response to the recommendations of the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly as such no plans have been made to hold a plebiscite in June.”

People in Limerick city and county will have the opportunity to choose Ireland’s first directly elected mayor on June 7th. A successful 2019 plebiscite saw voters in Limerick approve the creation of the office. Similar proposals on creating such a role in Cork and Waterford were defeated.

The Dublin Citizens’ Assembly voted in favour of creating a powerful new mayor with wide-ranging responsibilities in 15 policy areas including housing, homelessness, community healthcare, transport, the environment and emergency services. Six other areas including policing, water and education were recommended to be devolved after five to 10 years.

The role would incorporate the ceremonial activities of all four mayors of the four existing local authorities in the capital but the office holder would also have executive powers.

The assembly’s report was published in January of last year and the Oireachtas committee subsequently examined its recommendations and produced its own report last December. Members endorsed the proposals for a directly elected mayor “to provide stronger and more effective government for Dublin”.

It said a plebiscite would bring “great democratic legitimacy to the mayoral role” and endorsed the holding of such a vote this year along with the publication of a detailed outline of the legislation to create the office in advance.

The committee’s report says the assembly expressed hesitance about delaying a plebiscite with concerns that “a plebiscite needs to be put to the people of Dublin in June 2024 during the local and European elections, otherwise it will not happen”.

However, the committee’s report, while supporting the idea of a plebiscite taking place at some point in this year, also said it “could be run anytime in the next 23 months when many elections are expected to take place”.

The job of directly elected mayor of Limerick will come with a salary of some €154,000 and a budget of €8 million a year to be spent on projects and initiatives. The most significant power the mayor will have is proposing the annual budget for Limerick City and County Council, though this will still have to be approved by councillors.

The mayor will also propose the five-year local development plan and will have access to cabinet ministers via a set number of meetings each year.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times