Time for a greater Dublin authority
Sir, – In any redesign of local government in the capital, we need accountability and responsibility to take place at the level of the city in its entirety. Regarding a directly elected mayor for Dublin, the person with overall responsibility of the city should be elected by the whole city, and not just those within the narrow boundaries of the territory of Dublin City Council, which does not even extend as far as the M50 in many places.
While there is some benefit to government at a more local level, and the segmented nature of local government in Dublin should perhaps be preserved for some functions, the lack of some overall authority for at least some purposes across the whole city probably diminishes its effectiveness. It also leads to the absurd situation whereby people who spend significant portions of their lives studying and working in the city while residing in suburbs such as my own have as much of a say in its local government as the people of Galway. Another fault in this system is that, to the extent that any taxes are or might in the future be collected and used at a local level, these people might benefit from local public services in the city without paying for them.
I am sensitive to the criticism that a logical conclusion of this reasoning might be that, as the frontiers of the “commuter counties” push ever westwards, Dublin’s local government expands proportionately and ceases to be local in any meaningful sense. While this must be guarded against, we currently live under the opposite extreme. – Yours, etc,