Thursday, 13 December 2018
Local Government Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
I move amendment No. 18:
In page 36, line 4, after "Oireachtas" to insert "in accordance with the result of the plebiscite".
This amendment calls for the insertion of "in accordance with the result of the plebiscite". I am interested in the Minister of State's response. I opposed this section on Committee Stage and that is the reason I tabled the amendment.
Section 44 deals with the report to the Houses of the Oireachtas. It states:
The Minister shall, in respect of each administrative area in respect of which a plebiscite is held in accordance with this Part and not later than 2 years from the day appointed under subsection (2) of section 40, prepare and submit to both Houses of the Oireachtas either—(a) a report specifying proposals for the enactment of a law providing for a directly elected mayor for such administrative area, or
(b) a report specifying the reasons for his or her not preparing and submitting a report under paragraph (a).
It makes no reference whatsoever to the result of the plebiscite. As I said on Committee Stage, this suggests to me that if in the areas where a plebiscite for a directly elected mayor is held and the public decide they did not want a directly elected mayor, the Minister could proceed with the report for a law providing for a directly elected mayor and, conversely, paragraph (b) also refers to "a report specifying the reasons for his or her not preparing and submitting a report under paragraph", which means the Minister could effectively ignore a plebiscite. If the public decide they want a directly elected mayor a future Minister could decide not to proceed with the their wish. That is the reason my Fianna Fáil colleagues and I have submitted an amendment to the effect that after "Oireachtas" we would insert "in accordance with the result of the plebiscite".