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Thursday 14 November 2019

Dublin councillors to decide on referendum for directly-elected mayor by end of month

Niall O'Connor

COUNCILLORS in Dublin will decide by the end of the month on whether a referendum on the position of a directly elected mayor takes place on the same day as the local elections.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has examined a set of controversial proposals for the position - which would see some of the State's most powerful bodies being stripped of powers.

Mr Hogan has not endorsed the proposals and has instead sent them to all four local authorities in Dublin to vote upon.

If the proposals are passed by each local authority by the end of March, a referendum on whether to create such a position will take place on May 23.

However, if the four councils cannot agree on the proposals, the prospect of a referendum will be dead in the water.

"The ball is very much in the councils' courts. If they can't all agree on the proposals that their own members have put together, then there will be no referendum," said a senior government source.

A committee appointed by Minister Hogan recommended that Dublin be controlled by a special "cabinet of directors" who will have strong powers in areas such as transport, housing and planning.

The document also recommends that the mayor should have "strategic responsibilities" in areas such as policing, water, education and health.

The report also proposes:

- A five year term for mayor with an option of  re-election

- A special cabinet of directors who be given specific  portfolios

- An oversight assembly made up of councillors who will be responsible for holding the mayor and his cabinet to account

- the mayors budget will be funded by a combination of the local property tax, income from rates and direct funding from government

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