Salary of Lord Mayor of Cork will more than double to €130k a year under Government plans

Salary of Lord Mayor of Cork will more than double to €130k a year under Government plans
Cork City Hall

THE salary of the Lord Mayor of Cork will more than double to €130,000 a year under plans to make it a directly elected position with increased powers.

Local Government Minister John Paul Phelan said the salary would be linked to that of a Minister of State, which currently stands at €129,854.

The Government wants to overhaul the position of Lord Mayor, transforming it from a largely ceremonial position to a role with some executive powers and budgetary control.

The current Lord Mayor is currently paid €47,925, which consists of a €30,000 top-up on their councillor’s salary.

The high salary being offered for the new role is expected to attract some ‘heavy-hitters’ from the political and business scene to run for the office.

Sitting Lord Mayor Mick Finn criticised the Government for the “piecemeal” release of information on reforming the role.

Current  Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn 
Current  Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn 

In May, the people of Cork, Limerick, and Waterford will vote on whether or not they want to establish the position of directly elected mayors. If the vote in Cork passes, the first office-holder could be elected within two years, taking up their position midway through the council’s term.

At present, Lord Mayor is elected by councillors each June for a one-year term.

There is still no clear picture of what the new role would entail, but comments from the Government suggest the new mayor would have executive power over certain areas and play a role in strategic planning, while the chief executive would run City Hall day to day, a similar arrangement to a Minister and Secretary General in a government department.

The relationship between the Mayor and the Council Chamber is still not clear.

Mr Finn said the public needs more information now.

“A lot of this is being drip-fed through interviews and podcasts. We’re hearing this and we’re hearing that.

“We have heard no real details of what people will be asked,” he said.

He said he has written to Mr Phelan asking for more information but has not received any reply.

Mr Finn said that there is confusion among the public, with some people believing a directly elected Lord Mayor will be up for election this year.

“Voters need to know what they are voting for and what the powers of the mayor will be,” he said.

On the €130,000 salary, Mr Finn said it is impossible to say whether it is justified or not until the details of the role are established.

However, he said people will have justifiable concerns if it is just another high-paid position being created to sit alongside the current chief executive.

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