Wednesday 23 October 2019

Taoiseach floats idea of a new 'Borough Council' for Swords

John Manning

The notion of a new 'Borough Council' for Swords under a new local authority structure for the Dublin region, including a directly elected Mayor, has been floated by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar in a speech on the issue.

Addressing the Dublin European Parliament Convention in Clontarf, last week An Taoiseach spoke about the structure of local government.

He said: 'Colleagues, as you know, on the 24th of May, voters in Waterford, Cork and Limerick will decide whether they want a directly elected mayor with real power. A personality who can represent their city region nationally and internationally and drive it forward. It's very much in line with the Project Ireland vision which sees these cities growing at twice the rate of Dublin between now and 2040.

'For Dublin, we want the same. But it's going to take a little more work. Dublin is divided among four local authorities. So, we are going to organize a citizens' assembly for Dublin to consult citizens on the best model of regional Government for the 21st and 22nd century. My own view, is that we should adopt the London or Paris model with a single assembly for all of Dublin headed up by a directly elected mayor dealing with issues like planning, transport and housing even taking on functions currently carried out by central government.'

Talking in more detail about how Dublin's local government might be structured in the future, he floated the idea of a Borough Council for Swords and towns of a similar size.

He said: 'Below that we should have neighbourhood or borough councils dealing with the issue that are truly local covering much smaller areas that people identify with like Lucan, Tallaght, Swords, Clontarf, Dun Laoghaire and Rathmines - to name a few. But that's just my view, and we've much work to do before we can put a thought out proposal to the people of Dublin to vote on.'

In the same speech he assured Dublin homeowners that the ever-increasing property values in the region would not lead to similar hikes in property tax. He said: 'Understandably, this has created a fear that property tax will go up by that much as well. I want to allay those fears tonight.'

Fingal Independent