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Monday 22 September 2014

Scepticism at proposals to revive directly elected Dublin mayor post

Published 08/07/2014 | 02:30

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Mr Hogan met the heads of the four local authorities in the capital yesterday
Mr Hogan met the heads of the four local authorities in the capital yesterday

The mayor of Fingal has expressed deep scepticism over Phil Hogan's plans to revive the concept of a directly elected mayor of Dublin.

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Mr Hogan met the heads of the four local authorities in the capital yesterday as he prepares to vacate the Department of the Environment for the coveted position of EU commissioner.

The Fine Gael politician said that plans for a directly elected mayor remain on the table and he requested that the four councils prepare new proposals by the end of October.

Mr Hogan, pictured, and his officials indicated that a referendum on who to elect as Dublin's first directly elected mayor could in theory be held on the day of the local and European elections in 2019.

The meeting in the offices of the Department of the Environment and Local Government was attended by the Mayor of Fingal Mags Murray (Fianna Fail), South Dublin Mayor Fintan Warfield (Sinn Fein), Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown chairperson Marie Baker (Fine Gael) and Lord Mayor of Dublin City Christy Burke (Independent).

Previous plans for a referendum on the issue were scuppered after the majority of Fingal representatives voted down the proposal. The three other councils voted overwhelmingly in favour.

But the new mayor of Fingal last night expressed scepticism over the prospect of the concept being back on the table.

"I attended that meeting with an open mind but there was very little information coming from the minister.

"It's like the whole idea of reviving the concept has not been thought through. The absence of any real information is a problem for me," Ms Murray told the Irish Independent.

The Fianna Fail councillor said that Fingal representatives would have their first opportunity to discuss new plans for a directly elected mayor in September.

"This is now thrown in the mix on top of devising our budget and the issue of the property tax rate.

"There are 28 new councillors in Fingal and this certainly is an added pressure," she said.

Mr Hogan yesterday said it was now up to the four councils to present a case for the position to be put to a public vote.

Irish Independent

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