Press release

Greens call for more Mayors with clout

29th May 2024
Ciarán Cuffe & Brian Leddin

The Green Party has today called for the election of executive mayors in all Irish cities. The call came from Dublin’s Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe and Brian Leddin TD, Green Party candidate for Limerick Mayor. A 2023 report by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe found that local government is “weaker in Ireland than in most other European countries.”

Speaking from Dublin’s City Hall, MEP Cuffe said:

“For far too long, control of our cities has rested with Ministers in Dublin’s Customs House or with civil servants who are not directly answerable to the people they serve. I want to see Directly Elected mayors not just in Limerick, but in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford. The lesson from Europe is that dynamic, forward-looking cities have directly-elected mayors. Look at the great work that Mayor Anne Hidalgo has undertaken to transform transport in Paris. In Vienna, Mayor Michael Ludwig continues a century old tradition of providing housing along the cost-rental model. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan champions diversity and inclusion as the first citizen of that city.

“The suggestion by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that a directly-elected mayor is a ‘stupid idea’ is risible. All he needs to do is to study any vibrant European city to understand that strong mayors contribute to a city’s success. Devolving power down from central government to local level makes sense. It means decisions on issues such as building homes can be made more quickly, without layers of red tape and bureaucracy holding up progress. Allowing every city in Ireland to choose their mayor would give a voice to the people, and forge a stronger link between decision-making and direct accountability. If the people don’t like what the mayor is doing, they can vote them out. If they approve of their work, they can be re-elected. It is time Dublin had an accountable, rather than a ceremonial mayor.”

Brian Leddin TD, Green Party candidate for Limerick Mayor, said: 

"Back in 2019, I was centrally involved in the campaign for Limerick to have a Directly Elected Mayor. We succeeded then. Since 2020, as a TD, I have pushed government more than any other TD to legislate for this role and now that it is happening I am a candidate in the election for it. The reason I've pushed so hard for it is that I strongly believe that those who decide the direction of a city or a region should have a clear mandate from the public, and equally that they are publicly accountable for the decisions they take. 

I am a candidate myself because I have a particular vision for Limerick and the Midwest Region, and that is for it to grow fast and sustainably, and for it to ultimately become a western counterweight to Dublin in the years and decades ahead. This Mayoral role is an opportunity to accelerate that vision.

Generally, Directly Elected Mayors have been a positive force wherever they have been brought in, and I believe this will be true in Limerick, and it will be when other parts of Ireland get the opportunity."

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