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We'll get to vote on our very own 'Boris'

DUBLINERS will be going to the polls to decide whether to create the job of a directly elected mayor -- similar to London's Boris Johnson, or New York's Michael Bloomberg, the Herald can reveal.

The Cabinet has signed off on proposals that will see the staging of a referendum in the capital in 2014.

Dublin voters only will decide whether to create the position -- which is likely to come with a six-figure salary and perks.

The Herald understands that Environment Minister Phil Hogan convinced Cabinet colleagues that decision on the position should go to a public vote.

A senior source told the Herald: "There's been so much talk about the prospect of a directly elected mayor, but the Cabinet's view is that it should be up to the people of Dublin.

"The position itself will cost up to €8m over five years, so it is not something that will be cheap."

The vote itself will be held in May or June 2014 -- on the same day as the local and European elections.

If a Yes vote is delivered, it is likely to lead to a "prompt" follow-up election of Dublin's first directly elected mayor, sources said.

The vote itself will be watched closely by a raft of well-known figures who may fancy themselves for the job.

It is sure to lead to speculation of a return to politics by the likes of Bertie Ahern and John Gormley, with former presidential candidate Gay Mitchell also a possibility.







Dramatic

The plans are part of radical changes set out as part of Mr Hogan's electoral reforms which could save the country up to €150m.

But some of the most dramatic changes will happen in Dublin, as all four local authorities are set to receive additional council seats.

The Herald has learned that Dublin City Council will grow from 52 seats to 63 seats -- securing its place as the largest council in Ireland.

Other local authorities -- South Dublin, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown --will also see receive additional seats.

And there will be a series of changes within council structures -- which could see a number of manager positions being reformed.

Other measures on the cards include:

•The abolition of around 30 town councils.

•The slashing of over a quarter of the entire 1,627 local public representative positions.

•A major reconfiguration of council boundaries which will see a number of city and county councils merge as one.

•The formation of dozens of seven-seater councils.

hnews@herald.ie


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