Limerick’s first-ever directly elected mayor can help bring the city up to par with 'some of the best in the world.'
Liveable Limerick Chair John Moran was speaking after Cabinet approved the legislation on Tuesday to allow Limerick city and county to directly elect a mayor.
Mr Moran told Newstalk Breakfast the move has been a long-time coming.
"This is really important reform for Limerick," he said.
"It gets not just the two pillars that everyone else has - of local councillors and local government officials - but they get to get a mayor chosen by the people of Limerick for a five-year term".
'Real executive powers'
Mr Moran said the mayor will have a "strong electoral mandate to deliver a manifesto of change."
He said the new mayor will have "real executive powers - there's a reference to budget, which is very important."
"It will be able to function a lot like the type of mayors you see all across the world, who've help build some of the best cities in the world," Mr Moran said.
"That's badly needed... the reality is that for decades, Limerick has under-performed its potential and left many communities behind.
"Even today, some of the best talent is still forced to leave for Dublin and beyond".
'Not delivered yet'
Using a train analogy, Mr Moran said the reforms must keep moving forward.
"It's a really important announcement yesterday, but it's not delivered yet," he said.
"Put it this way," he said. “The directly elected mayor reform train, which is probably one of the slowest trains in the history of trains, left Limerick yesterday driven by our own [Junior Minister] Kieran O'Donnell.
"We just have to make sure that none of the blockers get it stuck in Limerick junction or some place along the way.
"It needs to reach Limerick now next year," he added.