Monday 21 October 2019

'Shambles' of mayoral poll attacked as city voters snub plan


‘Shambolic’: Micheál Martin criticised campaign. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
‘Shambolic’: Micheál Martin criticised campaign. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Ralph Riegel

Voters in Cork are poised to reject plans for a directly elected Lord Mayor in the city.

Counting in the plebiscite begins today in Cork City Hall with partial tallies indicating it will be comfortably rejected.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has slated the Government's handling of the campaign as "shambolic".

Cork, like Dublin and Belfast, has the right to a Lord Mayor.

However, the Cork plebiscite only covered Cork City and did not extend to the Cork County Council area.

Similar plebiscites were staged in Waterford and Limerick for a directly elected mayor.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who was a high-profile backer of directly elected Lord Mayors in Cork, had warned it would be "a golden opportunity missed" if the move was rejected.

However, Mr Martin said the campaign was run on an "off-the-cuff" basis.

The Fianna Fáil leader said a White Paper on the proposal should have been prepared with answers to issues such as powers, funding and accountability available to voters.

"None of that was done - it was absolutely shambolic. And I publicly said so," he said.

In Cork, the campaign was dominated by a row over where the new directly elected lord mayor's funding would come from. Critics also challenged the precise powers.

Irish Independent

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