Former lord mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu said the capital needs a directly elected mayor and that it should go “hand-in-hand” with a “massive” reform of local government.
Currently, the lord mayor is a ceremonial role that is voted in by councillors, with a term of just one year.
Ms Chu – whose term ended in June – has been among campaigners who believe lord mayors should have more executive powers, including being more accountable for local services such as transport, housing and community development.
In 2019, the idea of a directly elected mayor was approved by the people of Limerick and now the Government is pushing with plans to have the first election for a mayor of Limerick.
Speaking to Newstalk, Ms Chu said Limerick is Ireland’s “first model” for how a directly elected mayor could work, but that one in Dublin is needed “sooner than later”.
“There is a lot of merit to bringing in a directly elected mayor, local government reform has to happen,” she said.
“Our councillors’ powers have been eroded so much in the last couple of decades - a lot of our powers are gone, apart from the city development plan.
“When it comes to making sure things are taken care of, you need to have someone responsible - a directly-elected mayor.
“The best-case scenario is to have a person that’s directly elected - to take some of the responsibility and power from the chief executive."
Ms Chu added that Dublin City chief executive Owen Keegan said there was a “strong case for the proposal” and that she and other campaigners have been pushing for a plebiscite on a directly elected mayor to happen soon.
“The chief executive himself said this should be the case,” she said. “Because I had a chat with Owen Keegan during my term because I was looking into the role of the directly elected mayor and pushing Government to try and have this happen.”