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Wednesday 13 December 2017

State bodies could lose powers if capital gets an elected mayor

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

A SERIES of state bodies and government departments face being stripped of staff and powers if the position of a directly elected mayor for Dublin is created, the Irish Independent has learned.

Proposals for the position also recommend that national agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Failte Ireland and the Office of Public Works (OPW) would lose a portion of their annual budgets.

A major transfer of powers from at least 10 state bodies to the office of a directly elected mayor is proposed in a draft report being considered by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

The bodies affected, which also include the National Transport Authority, the National Roads Authority and the Industrial Development Authority, face the prospect of being stripped of staff who will then be transferred to the office of mayor.

The agencies will also lose their executive powers over issues such as economic development, transport, housing and waste services in the Dublin region. Along with the agencies, government departments such as Environment, Transport and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht also face being severely weakened.

The committee, set up by Environment Minister Phil Hogan to devise the position of mayor, stated that it was "of the view that the minister should ascertain details of the budget and staffing within the national organisations . . . that it is proposed should transfer to the office of directly elected mayor".

The report provides the first real indication that the Government is considering the creation of a lord mayor with real executive powers, similar to the mayors in New York and London.

The development will interest Transport Minister Leo Varadkar – who has expressed a desire for the job if it comes with real powers.

Irish Independent

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