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'Lord' may be scrapped from city mayor title under new plan

DUBLIN City Council will consider a proposal to remove the title of 'Lord' from the title of Lord Mayor of Dublin.

In his ever first interview as Lord Mayor, Christy Burke told the Herald that he wanted the word removed from the position, as it was a throwback to British imperialism.

Now it seems that Mr Burke might get his way after independent Dublin councillor Mannix Flynn proposed a motion to remove the archaic title from the position.

Mr Flynn told the Herald that the title was a "colonial-era title of subservience" and it was time to make a change.

"We need to make a statement that we are a republic in these waters, we are the only republic in these waters," he said.

"It's a bygone title for a bygone era," he added.

chains

A second proposal before the council has suggested replacing the deputy lord mayor's chains with a badge - due to the cost of security.

The motion before the protocol committee regarding the mayor title, seen by the Herald, said: "In keeping with best practice and mindful of the connotations of the word 'Lord' in 'Lord Mayor' that this committee agree to decommission the title lord mayor and replace it with much more civic and inclusive title of civic mayor."

The motion said that such a title would be a "much more" democratic description and title.

"The days of lords go back to a time when Ireland was under foreign rule and in many respects it is an alien colonialist term.

"The capital, Dublin, of the Irish Republic should assert itself and strike a new title and description for the elected chair person and civic mayor of Dublin City and Council.

"Perhaps a plebiscite and a ballot among city councillors could be considered here," it said.

When asked by the Herald in June what Mr Burke's young self - an 18-year-old IRA volunteer - would say if he knew that he would one day become Lord Mayor, he laughed.

"I'd say 'you know I'm going to become mayor one day.' Maybe the 'Lord' needs to be deleted because it's a British title," he said.

Mr Flynn said that in recognition that his colleague does not want to be called 'Lord', he was bringing the proposal forward.

He accepted that some people liked the title but said that it should become a "museum piece".

Meanwhile, Mr Flynn has also suggested replacing the chains of office for the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, with a badge.

valuable

"In many incidences the chain has to be picked up by elected members, held in a secure place or brought back on the same day etcetera.

"These chains are valuable items and there is a risk associated with them.

"Also, there is the issue of time and effort it takes to pick up and bring back the chain for each event," his motion said.

It added: "A badge or other such identification could be kept by the councillors and used on occasion when they are asked by the Lord Mayor to deputise at events.

"Equally, if a councillor wished to use any of the chains of office they are also readily available.

"This is a much more inclusive and practical arrangement and less time consuming and safer."

motion

The motions are due to go before the council next month.

Explaining the rationale behind changing the chains of office to a badge, Mr Flynn said that in many cases, councillors who held the position did not want chains.

The motion to remove the title of 'Lord' comes just over a year ahead of the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

Negotiations to fill the position of Dublin's first citizen played a key part in forming the council, following the local elections earlier this year.

A voting pact saw Mr Burke given the position for the first year of the council's five-year term. And Sinn Fein were told that the party could pick one of its councillors to be the Lord Mayor of Dublin for the massively symbolic 2015/2016 term.

Each of the other groups, Labour, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, will share a year each of the remainder of the current council's three years in office.

lbyrne@herald.ie


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