A huge majority of Dubliners are in favour of the capital city having a directly-elected Mayor, according to the results of an opinion poll for the Labour Party.
The poll, commissioned by Labour Dublin spokesman Kevin Humphreys, has shown that three out of four voters living in Dublin believe it should have its own elected mayor.
A total of 74 per cent were in favour of the idea, with almost 26 per cent saying they were not.
The Ireland Thinks poll was conducted among 541 adults throughout Dublin City and County mainly by mobile phone. The sample was random and the results were weighted to age, gender and social demographic groups.
“The poll is telling me very clearly there is closer demand from citizens for a directly elected mayor,” said Mr Humphreys.
“We have seen the benefit in other EU cities... This is a city of 1.3 million and there is a clear democratic deficit here. There is no clear figurehead for the region fighting for resources and investment that a city needs,” he added.
The most astounding statistic was the support for the idea among younger voters. Almost 96 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 supported an elected mayor. The lowest support levels were among those aged 55 to 64 (66 per cent).
There was strong support for the ideas across all political parties, especially among supporters of the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin.
On foot of the survey, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr has written to all elected representatives in Dublin, including councillors, senators and TDs inviting them to a meeting later this month to discuss the idea. The meeting, to be held in the Mansion House on October 24th, will be an effort to seek a “common purpose” among all politicians about the role and powers of an executive Mayor, and how a mayoral office and assembly might work.
“We are trying to make it a non-party political idea,” said Mr Carr. “In a sense it is like a Minister for Dublin. We have half of everything in the country.”
An earlier effort to establish a directly-elected mayor was unsuccessful in 2014, when the idea was vetoed by Fingal County Council. Fianna Fáil is publishing a Bill proposing a plebiscite in 2018 followed by a mayoral election in 2019. That legislation is likely to attract support from other parties in the Dáil.
“What we are trying to do now is to get everybody in and hear their views,” said Mr Carr.
“Some are for and others against. There are people who would be concerned about an extra layer of bureaucracy or about being ignored. We have to listen to them and see if we can find an agreed solution.”
For his part, Mr Humphreys said he was heartened at the level of support, especially from young people.
“We have a lot of work to do to explain the benefits of having a directly elected mayor, and the influence that office could bring on a national and an international level for investment into the city, tourism, transport and identity.”