Dubliners want to elect their mayor, poll finds
Survey finds 61% want official with wide powers over transport, waste, housing and policing
Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn: said people had clearly shown a preference for a strong mayor with executive powers. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Dubliners want a directly elected mayor with wide-ranging powers to control transport, waste, housing and policing, according to new research from Dublin City Council.
Dubliners will be asked in a plebiscite next May to vote on whether they want the new office.
The survey of 1,200 people found 61 per cent favour having a directly elected mayor for the capital, with just 14 per cent opposed. The most common reason given for opposition to the new office was the potential cost.
The council’s study is the first official research to gauge support for having a directly elected mayor. The poll next May will coincide with local and European elections.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn said people had clearly shown a preference for a strong mayor with executive powers.
“People want an ambassador for the city, but also someone who can drive change, who can hold people to account. Someone who can make sure Dublin is run efficiently and money is well spent and can be accounted for.” Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has tasked the four local authorities with formulating proposals on how the new system would function. The proposals are to be submitted to Government by the end of the year.
A forum of the four local authorities, chaired by Mr Quinn, will hold its first meeting tonight. The forum will consider a range of options, taking into account international examples of directly elected mayors, Mr Quinn said. His preference was for a mayor leading a cabinet or executive, each member of which would have responsibility for a different service, such as transport, housing, planning or waste management.
The mayor and his managers should be brought before councillors once a month for a “grilling” on how they were running Dublin’s services and spending its money, he said.
Business groups are also seeking a mayor with teeth, Gina Quin, chief executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said. The council’s survey will be used as a starting point for the forum’s debates.