Voters in Cork and Waterford have rejected the proposal for a directly elected mayor, but the plan got the backing of people in Limerick.
In Cork 33,364 voted in favour, while 34,347 voted against. In Limerick there were 38,122 Yes votes, with 34,573 No votes, while in Waterford there were 21,718 votes in favour, with 22,437 opposed.
The plebiscite was intended to gauge the level of public support for the idea of a directly elected mayor with a term of five years, who would take over many of the executive functions currently operated by local authority chief executives.
Supporters said a directly elected mayor would give a more democratic voice to the people, rather than the mayor being elected on a rotation "pact" basis by fellow councillors.
They also believe it would give a stronger mandate for that mayor to represent the county and pursue issues like investment and better facilities.
Critics said the cost of the mayor's office would be a waste of money, and that a minister at the Cabinet table would be a better way of securing resources.
They warn that a popular but unqualified "wild card" candidate could capture the public imagination to hold the role.
They also note that there would be fewer opportunities for councillors to serve as mayor, and that the change to the role and powers of the current CEOs has not yet been clearly delineated.
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