| 6.4°C Dublin

Drive to have elected mayor in job by June

DUBLIN could have an elected mayor by June, it has been revealed. Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley said he was pressing ahead with new laws to get the capital ready for a vote early in the summer.

He also said his party will challenge for the sought-after role and that he expects opposition from several so-called 'celebrity candidates'.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been tipped by Mr Gormley to throw his hat into the ring to become the capital's first citizen.

"I hope to bring the heads of the bill forward and publish them in the next few months," said Mr Gormley. "I hope the election could be held in June."

The Dublin mayor -- styled heavily on the London post -- will be responsible for policy on land-use planning, waste management, water and housing in the four major local authorities and will command a ministerial salary of about €200,000. Policing and education will not come under its remit.

Mr Gormley also said that the Dublin mayor, like the London counterpart, could start off with limited powers, and see authority grow as the office develops.

But Fine Gael's environment spokesman Phil Hogan said the plan for mayoral elections in less than six months was ill-thought and half-baked.

The election, for an initial four-year term, was initially planned for 2011.