Powerful directly elected mayor for Dublin proposed by Citizens’ Assembly

Group voted in a series of ballots at Dublin Castle on Saturday following six months of deliberations and debate

The election of a powerful new mayor for Dublin with wide-ranging responsibilities is to be proposed to the Government following a vote by the Citizens’ Assembly in the capital on Saturday.

The Citizens’ Assembly on a directly elected mayor concluded its final plenary meeting at Dublin Castle following deliberations over six months.

During a series of ballots that took place on Saturday, members voted in favour of mayor with responsibility for 15 policy areas including housing, homelessness, community healthcare, transport, the environment and emergency services.

Six other areas including policing, water, and education were recommended to be devolved after five to 10 years.


The assembly also supported holding a plebiscite on the creation of the office before it is established, and recommended a series of new local government structures to support and sit alongside the new directly elected mayor.

A full report and recommendations will now be prepared over the coming months ahead of being sent to the Oireachtas for consideration. The assembly’s chairman Jim Gavin said he hoped to submit the report by December.

Speaking of the assembly members, he said: “They have voted to create a powerful and substantial figurehead to lead, represent and be accountable for our capital city, similar to other major international cities.

“The members of the assembly have spoken loud and clear on local government reform. Their recommendations will represent a major change in how our city is run and will, I believe, transform Dublin for the better.”

The assembly has now concluded its formal meetings that took place over a series of weekends from April to October. Over that time, members were addressed by a range of experts, mayors from cities equivalent in size and scale to Dublin, politicians, and the chief executives of the four Dublin local authorities.

Among the issues dealt with by the assembly were the extent of the mayor’s powers alongside local government; the role of and fundraising capacity of the mayor alongside local government; the election of the mayor, and the role of local councillors.

The assembly voted that there should be a plebiscite on the creation of the office, its powers and its structures, before the mayor is elected, and that the mayor should serve up to two terms of five years duration each.

It said there should be a mechanism to remove the mayor either by councillors or the public, and that the mayor should have the power to raise funds from markets, should retain funds from taxes paid in Dublin, and should be able to introduce local taxes.

The assembly also voted that nominations to run as mayor could be secured through a variety of methods including an appropriate number of statutory declarations of support from the electorate and an appropriate financial deposit.

People on the Electoral Register for Dublin local elections should be used for the election of the Dublin mayor, the assembly decided.

Furthermore, it voted that all Dublin councillors should be made full-time, and that councillors’ salaries should be more reflective of a full-time commitment.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter