PROPOSALS for a directly-elected mayor for Cork and Dublin are expected to be discussed by the Cabinet this week.
Such a proposal has long been mooted for Ireland's biggest cities but the discussion in Cork was sidelined in recent years during the lengthy debate on the extension of the city's boundary.
The Irish Times reported on Saturday that the Government is now set to give approval for the citizens of Dublin and Cork to directly elect a mayor of their cities for a five-year term beginning in 2019.
It is expected that such a role would be a powerful one, having responsibility for transport, tourism and economic development and would cover the wider Cork metropolitan region.
It is expected the current Cork city and county mayors, elected by their own councils for a one-year term, would continue in tandem with the new Mayor who would have executive powers.
Reacting to the weekend reports, Pat Ledwidge, the Deputy Chief Executive for Cork City Council said he was aware such a proposal for a directly-elected mayor was being planned for Dublin but that Cork was not currently being considered for such a role.
"I was surprised to see Cork also included in proposals for a directly-elected mayor position. We would have to await the publication of the proposal and examine it fully before commenting further," he said.
The Green Party in Cork welcomed the news. The party's representative in Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, said it was the kind of reform they have been campaigning for.
"The devil may yet be in the detail but my instincts tell me this is a good idea. Cork city and county already cooperate on strategic planning for the metropolitan area. The idea of a directly-elected mayor is for one person who can take responsibility for that and add energy and democratic mandate. That can only be a good thing," he said.