Dublin mayor should take over transport and waste - report

Forum's report on the transfer of powers to be sent to minister this week

The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin, is the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin, is the residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mon, Dec 16, 2013, 01:06

Funding, staff and power should be taken from the National Transport Authority (NTA), Fáilte Ireland, the IDA, the Department of the Environment and other national organisations and transferred to a new Dublin mayor, according to a body tasked with advising Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

The Forum on the Establishment of the Office of Directly Elected Mayor of Dublin will this week submit to Mr Hogan its final report on the creation of the mayoral position.

Its report recommends the mayor have strong executive powers and control over a wide range of activities including transport, waste management, housing, planning, tourism, economic development and the fire services, as well as community and traffic policing.

It also states the mayor should have a strategic role in terms of national policy affecting Dublin in the areas of general policing, water, education and health, among others.

The 22-member forum, which includes representatives of the four Dublin local authorities and headed by Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, was tasked over the past five months with formulating proposals for the powers, functions and structures of the new office.

He can accept or amend the recommendations, before the proposals are put to a vote of councillors in the four Dublin local authorities next March.

If a majority of councillors in each local authority approves the creation of the new office, the proposal will be put to a Dubliners in a plebiscite to be held on the same day as the local elections next summer.

The forum is advising that the powers of the existing managers in the four local authorities should be transferred to the mayor. The mayor should be allowed to appoint a “cabinet” to run local authority services for the entire county.

No new taxes should be raised to fund the mayor or the new structures, the report says: “The new system of local and regional governance for Dublin is best funded from existing resources, efficiencies, retention of 100 per cent of the LPT [local property tax] plus direct transfers from national Government.”

A portion of the funding the Government gives to a number of agencies including the NTA, Fáilte Ireland, the National Roads Authority, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and the Office of Public Works should be transferred to the mayor, as should appropriate levels of staff, according to the forum.

Similar transfers should happen from Government departments including Transport, Arts and Environment.

Among safeguards recommended by the forum, the mayor would be accountable to a “Dublin assembly” selected from the councillors.

It is also advised that two-thirds of the assembly would be required to impeach the mayor, should his or her conduct fail to come meet acceptable standards.

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