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'Deadline' for Dublin mayor election slips further away

THE VOTE to choose Dublin's first directly elected mayor looks likely to be delayed until the autumn at least.

Environment Minister John Gormley, (right) has admitted his original date of June now seems over-ambitious, though he insisted the election would be definitely held by the end of the year.

The mayor is to have a staff of 30, with the office costing €5m a year.

Mr Gormley said the expense will be met within existing resources through greater efficiencies in the four local councils.

Describing the powers of the new post, Mr Gormley said city and county managers would be subservient to the mayor.

"The mayor is the head man - it's as simple as that. It is very much a new departure, up until now the manager was the one who had the power in Irish local government," he said.

Powers such as the control of waste management would be returned to the mayor.

The manager would have a secretary general or an assistant secretary general-type role. Mr Gormley added: "I'd imagine a lot of managers wouldn't think it is a good idea, for obvious reasons."

He said he is "not carrying out a counselling service".

"I don't think it has to be explained to them," he said.

The date of the election will depend on the length of time it takes to carry out consultation and how much co-operation is received from other political parties.

While he could not say for certain what the date will be, it will "for certain" be in 2010. Mr Gormley said the budgets of the four local authorities would have to comply with the policy set down by the mayor.