Thursday 21 February 2019

I'm considering a run for Dail seat with new party - Lord Mayor Burke

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke says he is eyeing up Dail run.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke says he is eyeing up Dail run.

Niall O'Connor

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke has expressed a desire to sign up to a new political party being spearheaded by Independent TD and turf cutter Michael Fitzmaurice.

Mr Burke has become the first political figure from Dublin to indicate an interest in aligning with Mr Fitzmaurice - suggesting that any political grouping that forms will not be solely made up of people from rural Ireland.

The former Sinn Fein politician shot to prominence this year following his work in the area of homelessness, as well as through his failed attempts to bring country music star Garth Brooks to Ireland.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Burke confirmed that he was considering the prospect of challenging for a Dail seat.

"While I haven't made any decisions, I am considering the Dail but also the Seanad. I will say though that I'm not getting any younger, however there is still more left in the tank."

The Lord Mayor singled out Mr Fitzmaurice, the newly elected TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim, who he described as a "man who has a human touch" and "in touch with the people".

Mr Burke said he intended to discuss Mr Fitzmaurice's plans for a new political party in the coming weeks.

Mr Fitzmaurice, who succeeded Luke 'Ming' Flanagan in the Dail, says he aims to field 25 candidates at the next election. Asked about the talks last night, Mr Fitzmaurice told the Irish Independent that he would be interested in discussing plans for a new party with the Dublin councillor.

"Christy Burke has done exceptional work in the area of homelessness - an issue very close to my heart.

"I would absolutely sit down with him. But I am also happy to sit down with anyone who is of similar mindset and wants to do things differently," he said.

"Certainly, going on what the mayor has done in Dublin on the homeless crisis, he's somebody who I could see myself working well with," he added.

On the issue of the position of Lord Mayor, Mr Burke said he was concerned that the Government appeared to have lost its appetite for the creation of a directly elected office.

He criticised the decision by councillors on Fingal County Council last year to vote down proposals to hold a Dublin-wide plebiscite on the issue.

"Until you have a directly elected mayor with power of authority over housing, policing and transport, you will end up a ceremonial mayor like myself, you'll be doing 800 engagements per year," Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said that visitors to Dublin are surprised to learn that his office does not have a significant budget.

"That's not the way to do business for your city. When Americans come here - they think I'm like the Mayor of Boston, New York, that I have the power, authority and a big budget, they can't believe when I don't have that. A directly elected mayor is long overdue; the procrastination we've had with this is unacceptable."

Irish Independent

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