Elect-a-mayor plan runs into trouble


OPPOSITION is growing to the plan to give Waterford a directly-elected mayor.
Fine Gael has launched a campaign in favour of the proposal which will be decided by plebiscite on May 24.

But a number of councillors and council candidates have come out against the idea and Fianna Fail has called on the Government to postpone the mayoral plebiscites, which will also be held in Cork and Limerick.

Most significantly, Waterford council has voted against the move and the Fine Gael Mayor of Waterford City and County has spoken in opposition to his own party’s proposal.

Cllr Declan Doocey said there is no need to change what isn’t broken. He said the proposal would cost too much and he hoped it would be defeated .

I’d rather see a kilometre of footpath being put down for that money

“I’d rather see a kilometre of footpath being put down for that money,” he told the Sunday Times, referring to the €129,854 salary and €16,000 vouched annual expenses that directly elected mayors are expected to earn.

Fianna Fáil has called on the government to postpone the plebiscites, arguing they are likely to fail due to a lack of public information.

“I have a terrible fear they’re going to lose these plebiscites because they haven’t engaged with the public or ourselves,” said Shane Cassells, Fianna Fail’s local government spokesman.

the €130,000 salary being proposed is vulgar

Independent council candidate Lee Walsh described the proposal as “ludicrous” and “fanciful”. He said the €130,000 salary being proposed is vulgar and shows how out of touch politicians are with reality.

At present, the Mayor of Waterford City and County is elected for a one-year term by other councillors.

Under the Government’s proposal, the mayor would be directly elected for a five-year term and would have significantly more duties including some now performed by the Chief Executive .


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