Last week I made my submission to the public consultation on a directly elected mayor being run by the four Dublin local authorities. In it, I called on the Government to introduce a directly elected mayor for Dublin who would be given strong executive powers. I’ve long believed that a coherent executive power in Dublin would help the region develop but would also allow much greater coordination of the delivery of services and the planning of long term infrastructure.
The public consultation is now over, but it looks like we will be having a referendum in the Dublin area on whether we want a mayor or not as part of the local elections next May. Assuming a strong office of mayor is proposed, I’ll definitely be supporting a Yes vote.
To Whom is may concern,
I would like to express my support for a directly elected mayor of Dublin, based on Option 2 – Directly Elected Mayor with strong executive powers operating with a Cabinet – as described in the Options Paper on www.mayor4dublin.ie
I believe that a directly elected mayor should have full responsibility for planning policy, traffic, public transport, water, community & recreation, heritage, waste policy and regional environmental functions. The office should also have limited functions in the area of policing (direct liaison role with the Gardai), economic development (bringing together the new economic departments of the Dublin local authorities) and education (overseeing a Dublin region VEC).
For the office to function properly and obtain public buy in, it is essential that genuine powers are devolved to it. The office of Mayor of London has been extremely successful, precisely because the mayor has so much influence on policy for the entire city.
As this will be a role with significant responsibilities, it is important that the office is held accountable outside the 5 year electoral cycle. I would support the proposal that the mayor would be answerable in the performance of his/her functions to a Dublin Assembly of 10 members. While my preference would be for these to be directly elected, in light of the need to save money, I can see a case for them being appointed from the four Dublin local authorities. However, I feel this appointment should be on the basis of a mandate obtained from Dublin voters. I would propose that on the day the mayor is elected there should be a second ballot where voters are asked which party they would like to see in the Dublin Assembly. Seats would be allocated on the basis of this vote, with the seats being filled by councilors elected to the four local authorities on the same day.
The cost argument is often used to oppose the notion of a directly elected mayor. The huge growth that Dublin has experienced over the last 15 years has often been unplanned, which has had serious consequences regarding the provision of education facilities, transport infrastructure, waste water facilities etc. There is a huge and unquantifiable cost to this – a cost in lost productivity across our city, which is many times in excess of the price of a directly elected mayor’s office.