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Sixth Annual Public Lecture Series of UCC’s Centre for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG)

The sixth Annual Public Lecture Series of UCC’s Centre for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG) took place on Thursday 15 April 2021 as a webinar on Zoom. The event was opened by the Head of the Department of Government and Politics Dr. Theresa Reidy. She introduced the Director of the CLRG, Dr. Aodh Quinlivan who gave an overview of the centre’s achievements in 2020, including the publication of Forgotten Lord Mayor and the successful ‘Lunch and Learn’ seminar series for staff of Cork City Council. UCC’s Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor John Cryan, then launched the centre’s virtual annual report for 2020 and he described the CLRG as a ‘role model’ within UCC.

The first lecture was delivered by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu. During a wide-ranging talk, she called for enhanced powers for local government and a broadening of the representational base. She noted that she was only the ninth woman to be elected Lord Mayor of Dublin and she queried why the gender quota legislation introduced in 2012 did not extend to local government. Next up was John Moran who spoke about his hopes for a directly elected mayor in Limerick. He argued that while a directly elected mayor provides for greater democratic accountability, the creation of the role must come with a transfer of powers and budget. Moran criticised Ireland’s centralised system of government and the tendency for the centre to micro-manage the local level. He conceded: ‘When I was Secretary General in the Department of Finance, I probably loved the idea of control but, seeing it from the other side, you realise how inappropriate it is’. The final lecture of the night came from the Chief Officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, Jackie Weaver. She stated that local government in the United Kingdom suffered under the weight of centralisation, just like in Ireland. Weaver then turned her attention to attracting more young people into local government. She noted: ‘We have struggled to get young people between the ages of 18-25 involved and interested in local government. We have established youth parliaments and youth councils, but are they actually representative of the youth in the community? With hand on heart, I think we would find it hard to say, “yes, they are”. We have a long way to go but in the last few months there has been an increased engagement with young people. Much of my time now is spent speaking in universities, colleges, and schools. Students are interested in local democracy and their local councils. That is the way forward’.

After a lively questions and answers session, closing remarks were delivered by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Joe Kavanagh. He complimented the speakers on their presentations and praised the contribution that the CLRG is making in raising awareness about sub-national government at home and abroad.

Link to CLRG2021: -
https://zoom.us/rec/share/u3CC83Cpyi1IGMV6idmf8iPe45o5nX15SVGR8ds__prGb03Xo2lPHsqlgRMiZdhb.zUtWVfj_Bbdl2XKE Passcode: ^Fd3lV$w

 

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Department of Government & Politics

Roinn Léann an Rialtais agus na Polaitíochta

2nd Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Republic of Ireland,

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