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Saturday 25 February 2017

Recruiting freeze will hit new city mayor

Fiach Kelly

THE new office of the Mayor of Dublin is likely to have to recruit staff from other local authorities in the capital because of the public sector recruitment freeze.

The new details emerged as the Cabinet yesterday approved the heads of the bill establishing the mayor's position.

A spokesman for Environment Minister John Gormley said the mayoral election would definitely be held this year and the target date was still June.

However, the election may slip into the autumn. The heads of the bill are due to be published in the coming days.

The powers given to the new position, which will command a salary over €200,000, will cover areas such as transport, planning and waste.

The example of the Mayor of London is the approach being followed, with the new mayor directing over-arching policy. Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire will have to follow the mayor's directions in areas like housing, water and waste. The other mayors will remain in situ.

Sources within the Department of the Environment say that it is expected that the mayor will sit on the board of the National Transport Authority, which was formerly the Dublin Transport Authority.

It is understood that the mayor will not have his own budget or be able to raise taxes, but can direct as policy that the councils, for example, build 500 units of social housing in a specified area.

"They will mostly be tasked with formulating policy," one source said. "They won't be dealing with planning permissions or things like that. That will be up to the councils."

Irish Independent

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