Dublin needs elected mayor and Government should support idea, says MEP

Brian Hayes says Government needs to support Opposition stance

Taffic pictured in Dublin’s College Green. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Taffic pictured in Dublin’s College Green. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

 

Dublin needs to have a directly elected mayor and the Government needs to support Opposition proposals for one, a Fine Gael MEP has said.

Brian Hayes, who represents Dublin in Brussels, said Dubliners should be given an “opportunity to decide on how the city is governed.”

A long-delayed report on local government that addresses the issue of an elected mayor in the capital is due to be delivered to Minister of State for Local Government John Paul Phelan in early November ahead of its publication.

The review is understood to have examined a scenario where rather than a having a mayor for all of Dublin, voters in each of the capital’s four council areas would elect their own mayors. However, Opposition parties are against such a scenario.

Proposals for a single elected mayor for cities such as Cork, Limerick and Galway were also examined.

“The Government has provisionally earmarked October 2018 as the date for plebiscites, where the electorate of each city and council area will decide if they want their mayor to be elected. The notion of four mayors governing all of Dublin is a nonsense though,” Mr Hayes said in a statement.

“One Mayor for all of Dublin would provide proper leadership on issues of huge importance to Dubliners – traffic, transport, planning and tourism,” he added.

“But a directly elected mayor must have executive powers, which means central Government transferring powers to the office of the Dublin Mayor and a specific Dublin Regional budget provided”.

Mr Hayes pointed out that of the 27 EU capitals, 23 have directly elected mayors. “With the challenges of Brexit, Dublin needs to step up and compete on the international stage – establishing a clear line of authority for Dublin is crucial for us at this point and needs to happen without further delays.”

Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party and the Social Democrats all support the idea of a single, directly elected mayor.

The Government review has also revisited the controversial decision to abolish town councils ahead of the 2014 local elections. It is understood the decision will stand. However, there is likely to be a recommendation to reduce the size of some local electoral areas which might favour larger parties and prove contentious with independents and smaller political groups.