AN Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend a town hall meeting in Cork next Wednesday to back a Yes vote in the upcoming plebiscite on a directly elected Lord Mayor.
The meeting will allow members of the public to engage with the Taoiseach, Fine Gael's plebiscite campaign director Senator Jerry Buttimer, and other elected politicians and candidates ahead of the vote on May 24.
The meeting will take place in the Clayton Hotel, Lapp's Quay, and those wishing to attend must pre-register at http://www.fgmatters.com.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Taoiseach said that this will be "the biggest reform of local government in a long time" if it passes.
"The Government wants these cities and regions to grow by 50% between now and 2040, at twice the rate of Dublin bringing about genuine balanced regional development.
"The elected Lord Mayor will drive this ambition forward and will have real clout when engaging with Ministers and central government because of their mandate from the people. They will represent their city or county nationally and internationally, chair council meetings, propose the budget and development plan.
“It’s a big change. Power transferred from unelected officials to an elected mayor truly accountable to the people, some you know, someone you can re-elect if they do a good job and replace if they do not. Decisions made in Cork, Waterford and Limerick for Cork, Waterford and Limerick rather than in Government departments in Dublin," he said.
Mr Buttimer said that creating the position will change how local government in Cork works.
"A directly elected Lord Mayor will make a statement, send out a vision for political leadership and offer an increased democratic mandate and accountability. The new role will provide new transparency of the workings of the city council and act as a strategic driver of Cork and the wider region, and will be essential for driving development.
“We need a directly elected Lord Mayor as a leader for Cork with real autonomy and power. Strategic thinking is needed to implement change in our city, based on the mandate given to them by the people of Cork.
“It is incumbent on us to develop the role of directly elected Lord Mayor to be the driver and creator of a new modern, dynamic local government structure in our city," he said.