Christy Burke elected Lord Mayor of Dublin

Sinn Féin to hold position for 1916 centenary after negotiating left-wing ruling coalition

Fri, Jun 6, 2014, 17:39

Independent councillor Christy Burke has this evening been elected Lord Mayor of Dublin for 2014/2015.

Sinn Féin will hold the position of Lord Mayor of Dublin for the 1916 centenary commemorations after negotiating a left-wing ruling coalition on Dublin City Council.

A planned arrangement whereby the position would rotate between the five largest groupings on the council collapsed after Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil pulled out of negotiations.

Instead, Sinn Féin, the largest party on the 63-seat council with 16 seats, has entered into coalition with Labour (eight seats), the Green Party (three seats) and 11 Independent councillors. The agreement will see Sinn Féin holding the mayoralty for two separate terms, with the Independents also holding it twice and Labour once.

The new arrangement means Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will not get the opportunity to hold the mayoralty during the council’s five-year term.

Speaking in California, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Fine Gael pulled out of negotiations on the rotation of the role of Dublin mayor because of the uncertainty around reductions in property tax and commercial rates.

“The Fine Gael members to the council were not happy that these commitments could not be stood by other parties who now want to take control of the councils,” said Mr Kenny on his trade mission to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which ends tomorrow. “Obviously it is a matter for those parties who are in control to determine who the council should be to carry the mayoralty through.”

Mr Kenny did not respond to a question seeking his response on having a Sinn Fein councillor hold the position of Dublin mayor for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Fine Gael group leader Kieran Binchy said the party was “putting policy ahead of… the spoils”.

Fianna Fáil meanwhile was unwilling to be party to a deal which would see Sinn Féin holding the mayoralty for Easter 2016. One source said the party “would have a concern that [the mayoralty] would be abused” under Sinn Féin.

Mr Burke is a long standing councillor and former member of Sinn Féin. He said he planned to focus on the issues of homelessness, housing, illegal dumping and services for people with disabilities during his term.

He said he would call for the prosecution of illegal dumpers and added: “The first thing I’ll be asking the city manager to do is clear all areas of our beautiful city”.