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Campaign for elected mayor on knife edge

CITY councillors are divided over whether to reject plans for a directly elected Mayor of Dublin.

Cllr Nial Ring (Independent) is rallying for the support of councillors to send a message to Minister John Gormley that the job of mayor would be "just another layer of bureaucracy" for Dublin.

Cllr Ring said the role of a city mayor would bring "absolutely nothing new" to the city and has proposed a motion to reject the position for Monday's monthly city council meeting.

"A lot of the Independents are going to support it. No one has time for this particularly in this economic situation. And the Labour Party's national policy is against this, so I don't see why the councillors would vote against [the motion]."

Cllr Christy Burke (Independent) has already said he will second the motion, because the role of mayor will not be given enough powers under the legislation which will be put through the Dail. "I'll second it. I always believe in a directly elected mayor, but one with powers in policing, transport, and waste, and this legislation doesn't have that much clout. I see it as a rushed legislation, and rushed legislation is doomed to fail," Cllr Burke told the Herald.

Meanwhile, there are some differing opinions among Labour Party councillors, and some say they will wait until their party meeting next Monday, before the council meeting, to decide how to vote.

Cllr Emer Costello (Lab) said: "I would have no problem supporting that motion, given the legislation that's there.

"In the long term, if we're going to have a directly elected mayor, we're going to have to transfer powers from the manager to the elected mayor."


But Cllr Kevin Humphries (Lab) said: "I won't be supporting an outright rejection of it. We support the mayor of Dublin in principle, but we don't think it should take place until 2014, and it should coincide with the local elections."

But fellow Labour councillor Cllr Paddy Bourke said: "If anyone objectively looked at the bill, they'd see it's the worst piece of legislation that was drawn up. I'd vote against it."

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said the issue was a matter for the Department of Environment.