THE CITY FATHERS
Sir, - I welcomed your decision to run a "special report on Dublin Corporation (23rd October). I was disappointed, however, to see the headline "A mandate for the city". Surely, a serious commentator cannot regard the councillors of Dublin Corporation as holding a mandate?
Six of the current councillors have been co opted on to the council, and the remaining aldermen and councillors were elected in June 1991. I should point out that this is the decision of the Minister for the Environment, who has delayed the next county borough and county council elections until 1998.
Most reports about local authorities describe the decision making process. This report, however, omits the fact that most of the decision making is done in sub committees which operate behind closed doors. It does not mention the powers held by the (unelected) City Manager. Many readers would be unaware that the council meets on the first Monday of each month at 18:45 in the City Hall. These meetings are open to the public.
The lack of objectivity in the supplement is disappoint in. Hugh Oram "considers plans" for the northern port access route. Although he concedes that great concern has been aroused, he boldly, states that "the tunnel is essential . . . early in the article. He uses the rest of the article to quote, without dissent Dublin Corporation policy on the matter.
Gary Culliton's article about the Dublin Transportation Initiative avoids any discussion about the proposed LUAS. This is surely a serious omission, given the widespread concern about the impact of its construction and operation on Dublin streets and the threats of demolition hanging over the houses on the proposed route.
Dublin Corporation, like any large organisation, has its strengths and weaknesses. I believe that The Irish Times does not serve it well by presenting such a one sided and uncritical view of it. Local government operations and finance are currently subject to much public scrutiny. The Irish Times could contribute to this process with informative and balanced coverage. - Yours, etc.