Tuesday 6 December 2016

Government tries to delay debate on directly elected mayor

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Published 23/11/2016 | 02:30

The Programme for Government allows for what junior minister Damien English described as 'the next wave of local government reform'. Photo: Tom Burke
The Programme for Government allows for what junior minister Damien English described as 'the next wave of local government reform'. Photo: Tom Burke

Moves by Fianna Fáil to immediately begin work on making way for a directly elected mayor of Dublin are being opposed by the Government.

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Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance want to stall the debate until June 30 next year in order to give Local Government Minister Simon Coveney time to compile his own report on the issue.

The Programme for Government allows for what junior minister Damien English described as "the next wave of local government reform".

"A consultation process would first be undertaken leading to proposals being presented to both Houses later in 2017 that would then require a positive resolution of both Houses before being put for decision in a plebiscite of the Dublin Electorate to be held no later than May 2018," Mr English said.

Fianna Fáil's John Lahart, who has proposed a bill, said: "Currently Dublin has four local authorities, four chief executives, four mayors, 183 councillors, and countless State agencies in Dublin, often competing against each other rather than together.

"A directly elected mayor would provide singular leadership to this structure."

He described the bill as "clear and concise".

The bill may still pass a Dáil vote tomorrow as it has the support of Sinn Féin.

Irish Independent

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