THE head of The Gathering and a senior civil servant have emerged as the front runners become Dublin city manager.
The Herald can reveal that 10 applications were received for the top position at City Hall before a special panel of officials whittled the list of candidates down to just three.
The Gathering's Project Director Jim Miley has emerged as a leading candidate, along with Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Manager Owen Keegan.
The third candidate being considered is an official from a local authority in the UK, the Herald understands.
The process of selecting a new city manager has now entered its final stages – with all three candidates set to be interviewed in the coming days.
Former city manager John Tierney surprised colleagues in January when he announced his decision to quit. He has landed a €200,000-a-year role as head of the new Irish Water.
Mr Keegan is seen by several council sources as the frontrunner and is understood to be confident of landing the job.
Jim Miley is a former Secretary General of Fine Gael and landed the top position at The Gathering Project last year.
He has been paid over €200,000 so far to lead the initiative – which is aimed at attracting thousands of the Irish Diaspora home in 2013.
Mr Miley was originally hired in May 2012 on a one-year contract that expired last week.
He has been paid a total of €202,074 in fees and expenses for his work to date, according to figures revealed at the weekend.
Fianna Fail councillor Paul McAuliffe said he believed that the council should have scrapped the position of city manager following Mr Tierney's resignation.
"The powers held by the city manager should be transferred to the Lord Mayor. This proposal would lead to an immediate saving in salary costs, would make the Lord Mayor a real role and would make councillors who control the council accountable for the decisions they make," he said.
A spokesman for Dublin City Council told the Herald: "Dublin City Council has no comment to make. This is a confidential recruitment process managed by the Public Appointments Service."