Labour councillor Alison Gilliland is expected to be elected the 353rd Lord Mayor of Dublin on Monday night, becoming only the 10th woman to hold the office.
Cllr Gilliland, who chairs Dublin City Council's housing strategic policy committee, is set to take over from the Green Party's Hazel Chu, as part of the voting pact between both parties, Fianna Fáil and the Social Democrats.
The Dublin Agreement, made after the local elections in 2019, sees the four parties share power on the council until the next local elections in 2024.
Colloquially known as the “mayors and chairs” deal, the pact also sees the parties take up the more prominent roles in chairing council committees, with the chair of the housing committee generally the most sought after because of its high-profile nature. However, councillors from parties not involved in the pact do also chair some committees during the five-year term.
Cllr Gilliland, originally from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, has been a member of the Labour Party since 2009 and was elected to the council in 2014. A former primary school teacher, she has been actively involved in the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and ran for general secretary of the union in 2018, coming second to John Boyle.
Speaking ahead of the councillors’ vote on Monday, she said her overarching priority for the year would be helping the city to transition out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m very conscious of the needs of our community as we transition out of Covid and the importance of the recovery of the city centre. I will be looking at the good things we have done during Covid, the pedestrianisation schemes, the outdoor amenities, and how we can keep and improve on these.”
As outgoing chair of the housing committee, housing would remain a priority for her, she said.
“I am committed to public housing on public land, which means not just social housing, but affordable housing for those who are outside the threshold for social housing but cannot afford market rents.”
She would also have a focus on gender issues, she said. “It is appalling that I am only the 10th female Lord Mayor. I do think we need to be more conscious of the female lens when we are planning for our city, particularly we need to take action to make Dublin a safer city for women.”