Tuesday 16 January 2018

Bus and Luas fares may be future directly-elected Dublin mayor’s call

Niall O’Connor, Political Correspondent

DUBLIN Bus and Luas fares may be brought under the control of a directly elected mayor as part of radical proposals being considered by government officials.

It has been learned that the bus and Luas services in the capital are part of the major new plan to create a powerful mayor of Dublin.

Senior officials in the Department of Transport are already considering proposals which would lead to the most radical shake-up of transport services that Dubliners have ever witnessed.

The transfer of Dublin Bus and the Luas would mean that a directly elected mayor would have a say in the fares charged to commuters.

However, the proposal hinges on the Dublin electorate, who will next year decide whether the position of a directly elected mayor should be created.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who has himself expressed an interest in becoming mayor, is strongly behind the idea of a major “devolution of powers”.

A well-placed source told the Herald: “Minister Varadkar believes in the devolution of powers in relation to the directly elected mayor. In relation to transport, this process could potentially involve Dublin Bus and the Luas.”

The minister is in favour of passing legislation which will see a raft of state agencies being stripped of powers, staff and portions of their respective budgets as part of the process.

These include the National Transport Authority, the National Roads Authority, Failte Ireland, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

None of the agencies provided a comment when contacted by this newspaper.

A number of individuals have already been linked to the position of a directly elected mayor, the most notable being Minister Varadkar.

The radical proposals stem from a draft report being considered by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

Mr Hogan is considering the report and will raise the proposals with his Cabinet colleagues in the coming weeks.



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