Friday 23 February 2018

New mayor for capital will not have own budget

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE NEW directly elected mayor of Dublin will not have his own budget and will only be "consulted" on the spending plans of local authorities in the capital.

But the managers of Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire councils will be legally bound to follow the plans laid down by the Dublin mayor in policy areas like transport, planning, waste and housing.

However, the Environment Minister will be able to intervene if the mayor strays outside national policy and will be able to direct him to follow government or EU policy.

Sources said that a similar situation currently exists between central government and councils, and insisted that the new mayor wouldn't be "bossed around" by the government of the day.

The heads of the Local Government (Dublin Mayor and Regional Authority) Bill establishing the position were published yesterday and also reveal that the mayor will be held to account by a slimmed-down Dublin Regional Authority (DRA).

And it now looks likely that the Government will opt to hold the mayoral election on the same day as the referendum on the rights of a child. Both may be held in the autumn with the by-elections in Dublin South and Donegal South West.

The new plans largely mirror the establishment of the mayor of London and sources say the role of the mayor will develop over time. There will be a review of the position after two years.

It is still unclear what exact role the mayor will play in transport in the capital. He will be on committees in the National Transport Authority (NTA) but the exact nature of the mayor's input into day to day transport still has to be settled between Environment Minister John Gormley and Transport Minister Noel Dempsey.

The mayor's office will cost €5m per year and will be staffed by 30 people.

"The office will raise the profile of Dublin and assist local government in taking the initiative in Dublin to support local and national economic recovery," said Mr Gormley.

Irish Independent

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