At present, we have four local authorities, four chief executives, four mayors, 183 councillors and countless state agencies, all with different, and often competing, visions for Dublin. Amidst all that division, it is left to central Government and the Custom House to call all the shots.
Henry Kissinger once famously asked who he would call if he wanted to talk to Europe. Well, who do you call if you want to talk to Dublin?
A lack of joined-up thinking on the big issues, such as housing, planning and transport, is costing us precious time, money and jobs.
The city has suffered due to a lack of co-ordination between the four Dublin authorities and the lack of a clear political mandate to address the economic and social issues facing the city.
Anyone who has worked on our city's development plan knows that the current system is not working. There is no central co-ordinating role between all stakeholders in the city.
Dublin is the economic engine of Ireland, but it is currently run by a rotating committee of unanswerable chief executives and chain-swapping councillors. It is time for this to change.
Take, for example, the current stalemate between the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council. The NTA wants to build an eastern bypass across Dublin Bay, completing the M50 as a ring road. Dublin city councillors voted to remove this from the development plan, urging a greater focus on public transport. The unelected council executive said the removal of the NTA's plan may be illegal. Just who is in charge in this mess?
Other cities have already shown that a strong mayoral office can really work to the people's benefit.
In many places, a city's lifeblood - its economy, cultural life and sense of place - is channelled through its mayor's office. Mike Bloomberg in New York and Martin O'Malley in Baltimore revitalised their cities by turning them green. Pasqual Maragall transformed Barcelona from an industrial backwater to host of the 1992 Olympics by introducing a radical reform of urban planning.
Jacques Chirac became a hugely popular mayor of Paris by looking after the elderly, the disabled and single mothers. No matter what one thinks of Boris Johnson or his predecessor, Ken Livingston, it is clear that London has thrived since it began to elect its mayor.
Dublin continues to be at a disadvantage as the four separate councils go their different ways. When Fingal speaks with one voice, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with another, South Dublin and Dublin City with others still, there is no coherence, and no metropolitan vision for the nation's capital. We need the strong strategies and policies which come with a directly elected mayor, rather than from unelected officials who are not accountable to the public.
Real political reform must devolve responsibilities to local authorities. Only then will we get brave decisions from people with a democratic mandate to make things happen. At present, no one is in charge and no one is held to account for what is happening in our capital city. No one has the power or resources to plan and organise how the city is going to develop. It is time for that to change.
The Green Party came close to creating the office of a directly elected Dublin mayor in 2011. Phil Hogan undermined the approach when he took over as Minister for the Environment and set up a process to reconsider the issue, which was designed to fail.
Now, with the change of Government, it is once more back on the agenda. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, says that he personally supports the idea and will review proposals for directly electing mayors.
The Green Party is ready to answer that call and will today publish a revised version of the bill that we nearly got through the Oireachtas in 2011.
If people are serious about what they say about new politics, then our bill should be able to attract real cross-party support.
If it is agreed and enacted within a year, Dubliners should be able to directly elect their own mayor at the same time that they elect their councillors at the local elections in 2019. There is no reason why Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford could not follow suit and we could see which cities thrive best when given this new responsibility.
Sticking with the current annual circus, where horse-trading decides who gets to carry the mayoral chain for a year, is no longer tenable. Our cities need real political leadership and that means the office of mayor cannot remain a ceremonial role.
We cannot change leaders every 12 months and expect coherent and effective leadership. Our cities are competing with cities in other countries, rather than with each other. It is time that we finally get the development of urban Ireland right and directly elect men and women with vision to take on that task.
Eamon Ryan is a TD for Dublin Bay South and leader of the Green Party