Sunday 23 July 2017

Gogarty eyes €200,000-a-year Dublin mayor job

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

CONTROVERSIAL Green TD Paul Gogarty yesterday threw his hat into the ring for the first ever direct election for a mayor for Dublin.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said he would be interested in running for the plum position, which is expected to command a salary of more than €200,000.

Mr Gogarty is the only Green TD not to have held any ministerial post since the party entered into coalition with Fianna Fail and last year he famously bellowed "f*** you" at Labour's Emmet Stagg in the Dail chamber.

The draft legislation establishing the mayor's position was published by Environment Minister John Gormley last month and the Green Party leader says it is hoped that other cities across the country will also have a directly elected mayor.

Mr Gogarty is to launch the Greens' campaign on the mayoralty by "talking to Dubliners about how they expect the mayor to improve services in the city and county".

When asked if he was running himself, he said: "Yes, I would be interested. My understanding is that the party isn't going to have a selection convention until July. In that context it's open to any member of the party."

However, Mr Gogarty has the backing of the party leadership and will almost certainly be the candidate for the election.

Mr Gormley said it was still the intention to hold the election this year, with an autumn date the most likely. It was originally hoped to hold the election in June.

"This summer, I will be running the Green Party's campaign to gather ideas and generate debate about the role of the new mayor for Dublin," Mr Gogarty said. "We want to engage with the public and talk about the issues and the vision that the new mayor could demonstrate.

Value

"The mayor can bring huge value to the citizens of Dublin through better delivery of waste, water, transport and planning services."

The new mayor will exist alongside the four existing Dublin local authority mayors and will not live in the Mansion House.

The mayor will not have his own discretionary budget and will only be consulted on the spending plans of local authorities in the capital.

But the managers of Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire councils will be legally bound to follow the plans laid down by the Dublin mayor in policy areas like transport, planning, waste and housing.

The mayor will also be the main driver of traffic-management plans -- which could include the introduction of congestion charges -- and transport plans for the capital and will link development and transport in the greater Dublin area.

Meanwhile, Mr Gormley repeatedly declined to reveal the controversial ministerial rotation deal the Greens had agreed to when entering government in 2007.

"I hate to be repetitive but as far as I'm concerned I don't want to go into any details about private discussions," Mr Gormley said.

The rotation deal, which was ditched only recently, allowed for Ciaran Cuffe to take over as Environment Minister half way through the coalition's term in office. It was brought up on numerous occasions by rank- and-file Green Party members at their convention at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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