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Election of mayor may coincide with polls

A VOTE on a directly-elected mayor for Dublin may take place on the same day as the local elections, if councillors give it the green light.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has examined a set of controversial proposals for the role – which would see some of the State's most powerful bodies being stripped of powers.

He has not endorsed the proposals and has instead sent them to all four local auth-orities in Dublin to vote upon.

If the proposals are passed by each local authority by the end of March, a poll on whether to create such a pos-ition will take place on May 23.

A committee appointed by Mr Hogan recommended that Dublin be controlled by a "cabinet of directors"with powers in areas such as tran-sport, housing and planning.

The document also recommends that the mayor should have responsibilities in areas such as policing, water, education and health.

The report also proposes:

* Five-year term for mayor with an option of re-election;

* Cabinet of directors who will be given specific portfolios;

* Oversight assembly of councillors responsible for holding the mayor and his cabinet to account; and

* Mayor's budget will be funded by a combination of the local property tax, income from rates and direct funding.

"The ball is very much in the councils' courts. If they can't all agree on the proposals that their own members have put together, then there will be no referendum," said a senior government source.