Dun Laoghaire Rathdown votes in favour of plebiscite

Councillors express disappointment after Fingal fails to pass mayoral resolution

A view of Carlisle Pier in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

A view of Carlisle Pier in Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times


Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council tonight voted unanimously in favour of allowing a plebiscite on whether Dublin should have a directly elected mayor.

But because Fingal County Council had earlier rejected the plebiscite, the Dun Laoghaire decision was reduced to a mere formality because the mayoral proposal could only be put to the people if all four local authorities in the Dublin area suported a referendum on it.

The proposal attracted cross-party support in Dun Laoghaire. Members accused Fingal councillors of acting anti-democratically.

Labour’s Jane Dillon Byrne rounded on councillors in Fingal, saying: “I find it enormously disappointing. Sixteen votes to six [AGAINST]with two abstentions. If that isn’t anti-democratic I don’t know what is.”

Fine Gael councillor Neal Richmond said: “I do hope sometime in the future we will have the say to give the people of Dublin the say into a directly elected mayor.”

Councillors spoke overwhelmingly in support of the concept of a mayor and of allowing the public to play their part.

Cllr Cormac Devlin of Fianna Fail said: “Overall I think the idea and the proposal itself is a good one. Something that I have encountered on the doorsteps is people looking for more accountability [in local government].”

He said the reality of a mayor would have “strengthened the hand” of local government in Dublin.

“It is back to the Minister and back to the drawing board to see what can be salvaged.”

His party colleague Gerry Horkan had explained that a similar system for a directly elected mayor had been rejected in several UK cities but that was met by a comment from Labour’s Denis O’Callaghan that the debate here had been frustrated before it could even begin.