Councillor behind successful Dublin Bikes idea is rewarded with Lord Mayor's chain

 

LABOUR COUNCILLOR Andrew Montague, the man behind the hugely successful Dublin Bikes scheme, has been elected Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Mr Montague (43) previously served as deputy lord mayor of Dublin in 2004, having been appointed to the position just weeks after first being elected to the city council.

He was nominated last night by party colleague Paddy Bourke and seconded by Fine Gael’s Bill Tormey, and was elected with 29 votes, defeating the Independent group candidate Ciarán Perry, who received 10 votes, and the Sinn Féin candidate Larry O’Toole, who got five votes.

Fianna Fáil, which has just six seats on the council, did not nominate any candidate and abstained from the vote.

Originally from Santry, Dublin and now living in Ballymun, Mr Montague said he wanted to work to improve the lives of people in substandard local authority housing, particularly in the five areas where regeneration schemes collapsed two years ago.

He said he wanted to tackle antisocial behaviour, possibly through restorative justice programmes that involve offenders making amends to their victims.

He also wished to develop a new food market in the Fruit and Vegetable Market off Capel Street, and urban markets in the city’s suburbs. He said he wanted to attract more foreign investment and foreign students to the city, and to extend the bike scheme.

The bike rental scheme, initially proposed by Mr Montague in 2004, was introduced in September 2009 and quickly became the most successful such scheme yet introduced in Europe – with more subscribers per capita than in any other city.

While the bike scheme has been hugely popular, Mr Montague has also been an advocate of more controversial traffic and transport policies such as the reduction in speed limits in most of the city centre to 30km/h, and the introduction of the College Green “bus gate” which restricted cars crossing the city centre.

Mr Montague thanked Fine Gael’s Gerry Breen, who he succeeded as Lord Mayor.