Dubliners to vote on directly elected Lord Mayor next year
Working group to hold first meeting next month to consider options
In a letter to Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan said the extent of public support for the creation of a directly elected Lord Mayor will be “a vital consideration” in whether it is established. Photograph: Eric Luke
Plans are under way to prepare for Dubliners to vote next year on whether they want a directly elected Lord Mayor. The vote will take place on the same day as the local elections.
The four Dublin local authorities held a preliminary meeting to discuss the proposals last month and have since written to Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan to tell him they will establish a working group to consider options. It will hold its first meeting in July and issue a report to the Minister in December.
The role of Lord Mayor in Dublin is filled by a Dublin city councillor elected by other members of the council. Proposals for a directly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin were included in the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government and the role was previously championed by the Green Party while in government.
In a letter to current Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí, Mr Hogan said the extent of public support for the creation of a directly elected Lord Mayor will be “a vital consideration” in whether it is established. He said the proposals would need to show “not only that increased costs are avoided, but also that savings and other tangible benefits will be achieved” by the development of the office.
The Minister said the working group should consider the implications of establishing an office of directly elected mayor “with more far-reaching powers, functions and budgetary capacity”. They should consider the significant changes in existing local government arrangements it would require and the changes in local authority structures and membership.
They should also consider the allocation of resources including staffing, budgetary provisions and property transfer “given that there should be no additional costs to the exchequer”.
He also asked the working group to look at a requirement to “prevent the role of elected members being diminished”, as well as how a directly elected mayor would be developed “in a manner to avoid it being simply inserted as an additional layer of governance and administration on top of the current local government system”.
The group should also consider how the mayor might be removed from office in the event of poor performance.
The working group is made up of 16 councillors, four from each Dublin local authority, and four officials.
A public consultation process will be held in advance of the production of proposals and these will have to be ratified by each local authority before being sent to the Minister.